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. 

5 Years

Last night on the 1 train back home, I realised that I have had my sports shoes (Brooks!) for over 5 years, and that it was high time I changed them. I remembered the approximate date because the pair of sports shoes I had before these broke after my first year in the UK, and I remembered asking my athletic roommate from Passfield Hall, Michelle, if I should get a new pair of shoes (stupid question, but I was being cheap).
So last night I finally ordered a new pair of sports shoes off the DSW website, a pair of grey saucony shoes. Very exciting stuff.
In other news, I managed to run for 15 minutes on the treadmill yesterday without collapsing. I then had a double chocolate chip frappe from Starbucks after, and promptly consumed back 2x the amount of calories I lost from the run. Seriously.

1 Month + 1 Day

I finally ran out of the conditioner in my travel size bottle. I had judiciously filled it up to the brim right before I left Singapore, and realised as I was trying to eke out the last globs of it in the shower that it had been precisely 1 month and a day since I had left. My immediate reaction was to feel fascinated and vaguely accomplished: I now knew how much Shampoo and Conditioner my travel bottles could accommodate, and vaguely how much Shampoo and Conditioner I used in general. Now writing this down however, I feel a little bit sad, a little bit homesick. Feels like I've left home for far much more longer than just a month. But then again, I was only home for about a month and a half, which isn't much time at all, an exact 14.2% of a year. Time spent that seems scarcely enough in the larger scheme of things.
I think this is the first time I've felt homesick since being in the US this time around.

...about living in this new house.

#1 It's never as cool outside as one is led to think from just pottering around inside

#2 It's never as dark outside as one is led to think from just pottering around inside

I keep forgetting these two cardinal rules about my new place (hello ground floor flat facing a retaining wall), and find myself either over or under compensating for when I dress to go out, and find myself constantly amazed that the sun is still out at 4pm (it's not even Fall yet, mind) because its disappeared from my room after 1pm (not that it enters my room until 11:30am).

And that, is my chief complaint about this new place. There is no sun at all. And my weather evaluation skills have completely gone out of the window as a result. 


Last night/this morning, I had two different nightmares. I haven't had a nightmare in ages, and having two of them right after one another was not a pleasant experience at all. The first one was about me alternatively trying to confront and run away from someone I had briefly dated, and the other one was about me having to drop out of TC because I was being bullied. Two very different nightmares that both took place in the present time period, and left me feeling like they were very much real while I was dreaming (then again, I'm not sure if I've ever been aware that I was dreaming while in a dream). As a result I am quite tired now. Zzz.

Room Furnishings

From some queer reason, flats in NYC are usually rented without furniture. This meant that I had to buy some for the recent move, which entailed scouring craigslist for cheap second hand furniture, figuring out how to get the furniture to my new place and poring of the price differences of items on either Walmart or Target's website. Well, I just finished moving in properly a few days ago, and have just done all the calculations, and have spent a total of $365 on all of the furniture in my room (carpet + plastic storage drawers + bed side lamp all included). If I add in the total cost to move all the stuff over, it's an additional $173 (movers + taxi trips). GOSH. my head reels from thinking how much money has been flowing out of my pocket over the last few weeks. From the broker's fee ($2,736 in total!), to setting up the internet account, to buying appliances and texts for the upcoming school year, I feel like I must have spent more money within the past few month than I've ever had in my life, the crazy month I bought a bunch of branded handbags included.

My heart aches at the thought of all the money that has been spent.

Suburban Fears

Was sitting in the back of the car today on the way to H Mart in Edison with my Aunt and Uncle when it suddenly struck me, starkly and in not-uncertain terms, that the idea of living the lifestyle that they now live in their early 50s freaked me out. The quiet upper middle class suburbia, the judging of other people who were not-like-them, the living of culturally confused lifestyles (perhaps I am a little to harsh on this point - but Korean is 100% OK while Chinese is not?), and the rejection of all other points of view.

I look at the environment they inhabit here in contrast to my (new) environment in Inwood, and this place feels utterly stifling, strangling even, in contrast. I makes me feel anxious, and panicky, that holy crap! This life of theirs cannot be any further from what I want to achieve in life. Is it comfortable? Undoubtedly so. But is it one I desire? No, no, a million times no.

I've never been fond of cities because they always contain too many damn people, but I suppose having too many damn people is also one of the greatest intrinsic values of living in a city - you interact with people from all walks of life. Here I feel like I'm not in the real world, but one where rich white people live with their first world problems and feel the ability to shit on everyone else, and the idea of living in a place like this freaks me out to no end.

Failure #3

Just heard back from the Broker, and we didn't get the flat.

Instead of studying, like I had intended to do, I ended up watching SVU instead. Felt too disappointed to concentrate on anything serious. Then I went out to buy junk food for dinner from a little fry-up place around the corner, and walked up Broadway till 153rd before turning back. Just as I almost reached back to 148th, I saw a dead and squished mouse right outside Dunkin Donuts. My insides gave a little jump when I suddenly saw the mouse just lying there on the pavement, and swerved a little to avoid stepping on it.

My insides kind of feel a little like that crushed dead mouse.

Hamilton Heights

Have spent the last few days back in NYC feeling incredibly stressed out about housing. To date Marina and I have had 2 failed applications. Now we have 1 pending in Washington Heights. Really, really hope it works out.

The second time I heard about our failed application (also for a place in Washington Heights),  I was out with Sindhu, who was visiting NYC, and I felt almost exactly like I had just been dumped. Urgh.

In the meanwhile, I have been crashing with Marina in her place in Hamilton Heights, in the living room. It was so hot when I first came, and I felt so ill, so I ended up buying an AC, which helped infinitely.

Today we did laundry together at the laundromat. Then we walked around the neighbourhood, up to 155th and St. Nicholas Place, and saw a lot of nice old houses around Sugar Hill. Above is the James Bailey House, which we saw on our walk. Marina and I even chatted to the guy who lives there.

Fingers crossed ever-so-tight that this housing thing works out well, and soon.

Myanmar and Food Poisoning

Went for a pretty much whirlwind trip of Myanmar with my parents over the last week. We visited Yangon, Lake Inle, Mandalay and Bagan, hitting most of the major tourist spots. I also managed to get food poisoning (not the worst case I've had, but still not fun at all) from Mandalay onwards, and sort of hurt my old injured right ankle again because of the Burmese penchant for making people take their shoes off to walk/climb around holy sites (in my case, walking up Mandalay Hill). I can't think of another trip [actually I can: Nepal] where I felt so tired at the end of it, and so glad to reach home to Singapore. How sad. Still, the front end of the trip was very pleasant and enjoyable, and even the end bits were pretty even though I felt ill and permanently nauseous.

In the mean time, I am left with just 4 precious days in Singapore before I return to the clusterfuck of stress and problems that await me in NYC, like finding a new place and really, really, working for my future. Tonight I'm having a sleepover with Tiff and ZW, tomorrow brunch with Daryl, CW and Jia, and finally dinner with the TLL people. The remainder of my days will be spent meeting up Cassey, one of my roommates from my hostel of Oaxaca, who is here for a few days for work, and with family.

Have started packing properly for my departure with a slightly heavy heart. Slightly heavy only because it doesn't quite make me want to burst into tears at the thought of leaving again, but makes me feel uncomfortable and restless nonetheless. I'm utterly terrible at leaving anything, but leaving a place that is so strongly my comfort zone, where I need to worry too much about anything (thereby forever being a useless child I suppose), fills me with an irrational panic that oh no! I'll have no one to rely on but myself. Silly really when one considers that this departure will mark the start of my 5th year abroad. Still, I cannot help my uncomfortable and jittery heart.

Meet Ups

Since I've gotten back to Singapore, I've met up/hung out with someone almost every day. Even people who I haven't really thought about have asked me for meet ups, which is a really nice change from my pretty solitary life in NYC. Yesterday however, I somehow managed to hang out with Ted Kin and Gen Huong the whole afternoon, from 12pm to 6pm, of which 5 and a half hours were completely spent talking over caffeinated drinks. At the end of that, I felt completely and utterly exhausted, and realised that even though I had often hung out with people, it was usually spent doing things together rather than outright non-stop chatting. Phwoah.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Myanmar for a week with my parents. We intend to visit Yangon, Bangan and Inle Lake. Given that Myanmar is now currently requesting for humanitarian aid because of severe flooding, I have seriously doubts as to the feasibility of this trip. Still, the tickets have been booked, and I guess worst come to worst we can fly back early. Fingers crossed that things aren't as bad as my pessimistic mind imagines.

After returning from Myanmar, I'll have a few days left in Singapore before I need to return to NYC. Kind of dreading it, mainly because my life back home has been so unstressful, so comforting, and filled with so many loved ones. I foresee feeling sad and panicky again, just before I depart.

Sampling Frame

Out of all the sciences, my most favourite was Biology. Couldn't wrap my head around Chemistry or Physics for the life of me, but Biology brought me a strange sort of joy. Unlike the other two sciences, Biology allowed me to understand and make sense of the things around me that could be easily seen and discerned, and to look at my various body parts and think about them mechanically, like parts of a machine (or in my case, a very badly functioning one). I've been thinking about Biology again recently however because of a very silly reason: sampling frames.
Context: I'm taking Mixed Methods for research now over Summer, and I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying it.
In my Summer A class now we've been doing a fair amount of work on different types of research methods (surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.), and for the past week have been focusing on surveys. I can't say I thought very much about surveys before, but since encountering the material I realised I had learnt a bit about surveys before - from Biology class. There was a page or two on conducting population surveys of plants, and I remember reading about the different types of methodology one could use to count the flora (and maybe very small fauna?). One method however I remembered vividly, because of the image I had in my mind every time I read it: the random sampling frame. For some reason, I envisioned a scientist grasping a literal white coloured frame and tossing it around at random, and that image always amused me. Now donkey years later (maybe 10?), every time the term "sampling frame" is mentioned in class, I cannot help but smile and imagine someone throwing a frame around. 
It's funny what one remembers from school. 
In other news, I feel quite incoherent today. Today has been the 3rd time I've been to Columbia Health in the past 2 weeks. I'm very tired of being sick, would like to know what's wrong with me, and would like to get better. Thanks.


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