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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Brush With The Tough

You'll have to excuse the somewhat cheesy title.

Yesterday marked the first day of a new semester; my third semester at the school. My friends and I were officially sophomores, and it felt good not to be one of hundreds of freshmen, milling in uncertain circles and exchanging new words as they slipped into a foreign routine and environment. Lectures seemed to go on forever, and by the time lunch had rolled around, we were starved. The food court was, as usual, spilling with students, and we had to make do with takeaways from the snack stall. M- and I settled on curry puffs, while W- went all out and ordered two sides of deep-friend tofu and a side of sticky pudding to go along with it. These were popped into separate plastic bags, and with that, we proceeded to the upper levels of the modern building to look for seats. After alternating between levels seven and five, we settled on the latter and dug in, our hunger pangs now acute. Despite our initial complaints about the lack of seats in the food court that had compelled us into having to purchase takeaways, I had an excellent time catching up with my friends-and I was certain they had, too. Between bites of our food, we compared our pedicures (M- had hers professionally done) and fumed about the fact that I'd been placed in a different class from theirs.

I may be taking a journalism course, but speaking to strangers still remains a daunting experience for me. It's like feeding a child who loathes vegetables a stick of celery: try as anyone might, it's difficult to get me to open up immediately. I've always considered myself a private person. I tend to internalise my thoughts and feelings, and while I love my friends and family, I need alone time more than most people realize.

Stepping into my new class yesterday after lunch was new to me. I hadn't experienced something like this in a year, and I felt startlingly awkward. It was a sharp juxtaposition from the way I usually feel, and the feeling hit me hard. Everyone was sitting in pairs or threes, and as I took a seat next to an unfamiliar face, I could feel slight panic rushing through my blood every now and then. When the teacher announced we were to pair up, the panic reached peaking levels, and the dormant nerves in the pit of my stomach came to life as I watched my classmates pairing up with their friends.

I still experience tiny nausea-inducing spells when I think of facing yet another day with my new class.

It wasn't a perfect day, but here's hoping tomorrow brings better things yet.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


School has left me a little more than drained. The assignments, piled up so high, have been like a treacherous battle against the impossible. But knowing my friends were going through the same thing as I was made me feel better about my predicament.
Life can be a pain sometimes, but as a friend to others, you watch their backs--and they watch yours.
Yesterday, we completed our final assignment of the semester. The holidays had officially begun, and with that, the class erupted into cheers. Ecstasy emanated the tiny classroom, penetrating the four corners made freezing by the air-conditioning, blowing overhead so diligently from various sections of the ceiling. We exchanged hugs, summed up the past year in our words, then proceeded to the lift.

Everything was perfect.

That rainbow connection can be hard to find, but if you sift long enough, it appears, like a pot of colours melding into something inexplicably beautiful.

I woke up this morning in similarly high spirits. With nothing to weigh me down but the promise of a sweltering, humid day--I've always preferred cool weather--I decided to rekindle with the unfamiliar: books.

I've always enjoyed reading, but since getting accepted into my long-coveted, prestigious course, time has not been on my side. Where I once used to write short stories or get lost in a third of a good novel or magazine on a daily basis, the past year offered me little time on my hands. Expending my energy on despised, albeit healthy tasks, such as racing to complete one assignment after the other and spending many an hour (admittedly grudgingly) conducting surveys and research left me mentally drained. Refraining from coffee helped, in a way: I shuddered at the thought of stained teeth. That image alone was enough to put me off drinking the aromatic beverage.

Of course, having lunch with my friends and dinner with the family has always been a top priority, and I never gave this part of my life up, even as I endeavored to finish every task that had been hurled in my direction.

And so, when I awoke this morning, I headed to my bookself, determined to make the most of the day. There, sitting neatly on the bottom shelf, were books I had long abandoned from my secondary school days. The Princess Diaries series, still pristine, seemed to sparkle in the dappled rays of sunlight streaming through the windows. I selected After Eight, my personal favourite in the series.

Easy to guess how I spent the rest of the morning.

On the road to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!: