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.

Unholy Mess

Half cause I'm just starting to move out and half because I'm still feeling sick and all over the place, my room has now evolved into an unholy mess. I feel great unease when I cast my eyes around, but I have no idea what to do. I could clean it up, but everything is within easy grabbing length. I could work towards reducing the amount of crap I have (an ever present theme in my life whenever I have to move), but the crap gives me some sort of comfort. I don't know. I don't feel very relaxed.

On the upside, I have decided to make teochew porridge with the canned fried black bean fish for lunch. I am really looking forward to it. Thinking about it makes me feel comforted.

Taking Ill

I don't think I've ever been so sick away from home before, and feeling so miserable to boot. I have not been able to sleep properly for the past 3 nights because I keep waking up feeling like I'm being choked and coughing like crazy. I saw the doctor on Friday, and he gave me a whole range of medicines for asthma, but somehow the symptoms don't seem to be getting any better. Meanwhile I've been taking almost any sort of medicine that seems like it'll help my symptoms, to the extent that I'm probably overdoing it.

I feel terrible.

Food Pictures

I seldom take pictures of my food unless they're unusual and memorable, but since I've been clearing my phone to free up space, I thought I'd post the pictures here.

The tastiest (and classiest) vegetarian appetiser that ever existed, as spreads for pita. Had this in Washington DC with Garam when we were there for the CIES conference in April.

Nicaraguan tamale which I bought from the world culture fair in the Zocalo in Mexico City. Was extremely large, incredibly filling, and very tasty.

Mole poblano enchiladas in Puebla. Would not eat again. Not a fan of mole.

Entomatadas con pollo in a small market stall in Oaxaca.  Loved it. Ordered it without knowing what entomatadas were, and because everyone in the stall couldn't speak English, they gave me a small taste on a plate for my approval first. Ended up talking in pidgin English and Spanish to all the patrons at the stall, trying to explain to them what Singapore was like. Was one of the must fun meals I've had.

Mexico Travels

From 14 to 21 May, I travelled for about a week around central Mexico by myself. I hit 3 spots: Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca. I decided that travelling for 8 whole days by myself is way too tiring for my taste, though I'm glad I did it. I saw Teotihuacan and Monte Alban too. I realised I haven't written about my travels in a long time and when I go back and reread my old entries, I like looking at the pictures most (HAH), so for posterity reasons I've decided to sit down and at least hammer something out.

First picture I took in Mexico, at the side of the Cathedral in Mexico City. Thought the statue looked bizarrely creepy.

Some sort of world fair thing that I visited in the Zocalo of Mexico City on my first day. Enjoyed it immensely, and even bought myself some Bandung from the Malaysia stall.

Funny smiling jaguar sculpture at the Museo Nacional de Antropologia. My favourite of all.

 Quetzalcoatl temple at Teotihuacan

Visitors sitting atop the Pyramid of the Sun, looking at the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacan. 

The Zocalo in Puebla on a Sunday 

I kept feeling impressed by the relics I saw in the various museums [this one was Museo Amparo in Puebla]. How the hell did this "Personaje con mascara y serpientes en el tocado" from 600 to 900 A.D. not break?

 Santo Domingo Church in Oaxaca, also the site of the province's museum.

More funny relics in Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca. I like. 

And finally, Monte Alban, just outside the centre of Oaxaca. 

I am quite a terrible travel writer. I'm better when I'm writing about my emotions or something. 

Overworked Liver

I think my poor liver has been terribly overworked for the past week or so, since I have been stricken with with all sorts of strange and varying ailments (first sore throat, then lots of phlegm, then lots of coughing, and now a stuffed nose and slightly painful throat) and have been taking all sort of medicines to try and make them go away. So far I have been unsuccessful, and feeling not-too-happy as a result. It's hard to feel jubilant when I cough until I feel nauseous. On the other hand, at least it's been nice and cool for the past few days, giving me respite from the almost continuous heat exhaustion I've been feeling. I really am a canary in a coal mine. 

Themed Songs

Songs I have been listening to for the past week:

Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
The Cardigans - Communciation
Via Audio - Harder on Me
Jimmy Ruffin - What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
P!nk - Try


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