Sentimentality Hour: Thank You

In my fear to categorise my friendships, I found myself surrounded in multiple forms of diverse and multicultural respect and affection. However foolish it may sound, I am always astonished at myself when I see how different people understand reality. It is so easy to forget that people do not perceive the world that you do. What key words they hear in conversations, what food catches their eye, what gestures elicit the strongest responses. What hurts their feelings and what makes them laugh until they are rolling around in the Chaplaincy floor, replacing the peaceful vibe with whimsy.

Despite having come to Edinburgh for a higher education in Business and Spanish, I can safely say that the places I have learned the most have been in kitchens and bedrooms, coffee shops and supermarkets, walking in the Meadows and into the streets of residential areas in misty rain and skin-piercing cold breezes. My best teachers have been all of the people I have had the pleasure to meet, no matter how brief, in this quaint and loving city in Scotland and all the other countries it lead me to.

 

I often notice how people easily consider this place “home”, and it makes perfect sense. University itself is a life-changing journey that forces us to be with people we would have never otherwise met, and therefore are given the opportunity to finally live a life without many kinds of constraints and pressure- whether that be parental, societal, cultural, political, we are gifted a time to grow in all directions. For those of us lucky and privileged enough to come from far away lands and still be able to feel a sense of belonging in an environment so completely and utterly opposite from the one from which we came, it is magical and phenomenal all at once. To meet such a fascinating and wonderful bunch of souls from all over the globe, who have granted me access into their minds and shared with me the workings of their thoughts, countries, and ideologies, I realise more and more that we are all somewhat the same and totally different. But the even more beautiful observation is to acknowledge these elements and yet be willing to make effort to get to know each other for the simple pleasure of kinship and kindness. To know that blood runs deep, but passion runs even deeper, evident in the bonds of love that we create in the people who we choose to surround us. That no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always a reason to keep an open-mind and an open-heart. Thank you for the love! THANK YOU FOR THE LOVE. Regardless of all the hardships and difficulties, the pain has never overshadowed the sweet bliss I have received.

 

I write this on my last night in this part of the world, uncertain of when I will return…at the end of what seems like a four-year long montage filled with all the classic tropes in those coming-of-age movies I never stop obsessing over. This is a period of my life that will be bursting with sentimentality so long as I have ability to string words together.

 

Edinburgh, you are my hearth. You are the location in which so many precious memories and aspirations were born. The friends that I have met here have become part of my globally roaming family, who will never be far from my thoughts no matter where I go. It will be impossible to stay away…and it’s too difficult to say goodbye…so I say instead:

“YAAAAAHHHRRIGHT PALLLL???”

Advertisements

Sentimentality Hour: Thoughts on leaving Edinburgh

These days, everyone I meet is a ticking bomb.
And to everyone I meet, I’m a ticking bomb.

There is an expiration date to be revealed with every new interaction that wishes to renew itself, and once the cat is out of the bag and running underneath the bed to hide from the constraints of reality, they always say:

“I thought we had more time together.”

 

We mutually agree on this regrettable truth. We both begin to bitch about the system of foreign affairs and visas and “why can’t we just live in a place with no passports and discrimination.” We toy around with the idea of a green-card marriage like so many tv shows are doing as of late, before dismissing it unconsciously when we promise each other “to visit”. For a single second I feel like a risky investment before I remember that friendship should be more intrinsic than that.

 

There are few people I could stay for.

To stay would be synonymous with falling in love, a “once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity”, or having a reason to justify why I should aimlessly float here rather than somewhere else. Sure, there are my friends…so many friends and lovers whose lives I want to watch flourish. Whose moods I want to help lift when they are drooping into the dark depths of circumstance when routines are crushed by spontaneity and anxiety. But love is not enough to convince the customs officer why I should be able to exceed the limits of my Tiers-4 that took months worth of queuing in awkward waiting rooms in nameless buildings and forgotten downtown districts. I think of those who ponder “wanderlust”, and all I can reply is that “Sometimes, the desire to travel has less to do with curiosity for the world and more to do with aimlessness, fear of commitment, and missing out. A fundamental lack of a sense of belonging and fervent need to fit somewhere.”

 

I’ve found a place. It’s here. I’ve found a person to sing harmonies with who makes me feel like the world is only a beautiful place, as long as the guitar strings keep ringing in the tunnel with great acoustics. I’ve come across groups of likeminded individuals who want to make shared ideas into reality. I’ve started to understand that definitions of soulmates and the nuances of attraction. How to look passively at another person who shares no blood but has the same passion that runs in very different kinds of veins, and letting that be the main fuel of unconditional affection. I’ve come alive in the span of these past 4 years time. I’m ready to let my roots dig themselves deeper into this Scottish soil that seems to grow nothing but Brussel Sprouts and potatoes, to play around with snow drops and burnt patches left by barbecue kits. I could buy a dog, or a plant, or a membership to the theatre, because these are milestones that signify: “I shall be here for a while.”

 

But now, the decision at this point is “to fight” or “embrace”. Do I tackle each day like it’s the last one of its kind I’ll be able to experience for a while, or live in denial until the last week I get to feel “not bothered” about walking 15 minutes and go out of my way to see a friend? Do I break unsaid promises forged by familial obligation? They have given me everything but an identity and a voice…They gave me the prompt and the resources but I have crafted my own story. It started here, and this very important chapter is coming to its climax, and that scares the hell out of me.

Sentimentality Hour: A girl walks into Forest Cafe…

Every now and then she enters, often only exposing a bashful nose and quiet eyes through the crevices of her winter gear. Slipping in deliberately unnoticed, she takes a seat in the corner that detaches herself from the communal nature of the cafe.

She looked so familiar to me, like a face I had seen somewhere else in another life. But then again, there are so many people like this, content to stay planted on the walls in a space where they prefer to observe rather than participate. Those same faces whose features only sharpen in familiarity and philosophical conversation, translating how their hearts and thoughts work in tandem to face the perils of living an average life…whose generic beauty is sculpted uniquely through the context in which you meet.

Still, she comes in and talks to no one, always ordering the same meal, as she summons into her hands a small paperback novel. Her eyes determinedly stay focused on the page, even though the pace of this place is spellbinding in its ability to distract. I am one of these victims, feeling rather rude most of the time when I sit inside, never being able to maintain eye contact with someone for too long despite the intimacy of the conversation. Most of the chairs point outwards and the walls are composed mostly of large panels of glass that make the outside world look more like an obscure reality show. If your back is facing these giant screens of mimicry, you will find yourself turning your head every now and then to see why the person you’re talking to seems to be unable to pay absolute attention to what you’re discussing.

On one such occasion, on a busy evening, she had to sit in the middle area that attracted the most friendly conversation between strangers. I was eager to quell a curiosity and went up to her.

“Have we met before?”

“I don’t think so.”

She had nothing more to say to me, but I wasn’t satisfied with such a curt reply.

“I’m sorry, I just thought I had seen you before.”

“Ah you know, this is Edinburgh. I’m sure you have seen me before somewhere.”

I knew better than to intrude on a private moment, even if it was in solitude.

What piqued my interest the most was the fact that she would enter such a loud and social environment to entertain this introverted nature. Perhaps it was her version of social interaction, watching all these lonely creatures congregate in this crazy melting pot of artists, alcoholics, lost souls and hungry people.

How ironic it was that we mostly stared outwards when we were here.

Link

Sentimentality Hour: Here Comes A Thought (Steven Universe)

Lovely song from Steven Universe about trust and working together with someone. 

Take a moment to think of just
Flexibility, love, and trust
Take a moment to think of just
Flexibility, love, and trust

Here comes a thought
That might alarm you
What someone said and how it harmed you
Something you did that failed to be charming
Things that you said are suddenly swarming

And, oh, you’re losing sight, you’re losing touch
All these little things seem to matter so much
That they confuse you
That I might lose you

Take a moment, remind yourself
To take a moment and find yourself
Take a moment and ask yourself
If this is how we fall apart

But it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not
It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
You’ve got nothing, got nothing, got nothing, got nothing to fear
I’m here, I’m here, I’m here

Here comes a thought
That might alarm me
What someone said and how it harmed me
Something I did that failed to be charming
Things that I said are suddenly swarming

And, oh, I’m losing sight, I’m losing touch
All these little things seem to matter so much
That they confuse me
That I might lose me

Take a moment, remind yourself
To take a moment and find yourself
Take a moment and ask yourself
If this is how we fall apart

But it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not
It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
I’ve got nothing, got nothing, got nothing, got nothing to fear
I’m here, I’m here, I’m here

And it was just a thought, just a thought, just a thought, just a thought, just a thought
It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
We can watch, we can watch, we can watch, we can watch them go by
From here, from here, from here

Take a moment to think of just
Flexibility, love, and trust
Take a moment to think of just
Flexibility, love, and trust

 

好好好 - A poem to my mother [CH]/[EN]

I love you mamma.

我長大想像媽媽
她每次都叫「拉拉」

「你要對自己好好
記得這個最重要」

「不要隨便恨別人
要愛朋友與家人」

「不要隨便亂花錢
不要吃太多泡麵」

「要記得打給爸爸
要記得好好唸書」

「傷心的話要說」
可不要太囉唆」

「我辛苦把你養大
因為我以前害怕
你們會像我一樣
為難吃苦得長大」

「現在你們真“lucky”啊!
你看媽媽的臉就知道
我有呢麼的驕傲
你們的命多美妙。」

所以呢,
我這生命 一定要好好的活
都靠我媽 我才能好好的過
對我們的愛 她給我們太多。

可以一樣的話
我沒別的追求。

[EN]

When I grow up
I want to be like my mamma.

Everytime, she would say, “Sarya-

You have to treat yourself good
As great as someone smart would,

Do not randomly hate others.
Care for your family and lovers.

Do not waste too much money
Don’t eat instant noodles only.

Remember to call your father
Keep your skills up in order

Be open about sadness
But don’t subject into crassness.

I worked hard to bring you up
Because I used to be afraid
That you would be raised like me,
Struggling and jaded

Now, you guys are so lucky!
Just look at my face to know
How proud I am that
Your lives are blessed.”

For this reason,
I will live this life to the fullest it can be.
For my mother,
I will live it properly
For the amount of love she gives us
Is ridiculous…

And if I could do the same,
It’d be sufficient.

Sentimentality Hour: Words

Whatever I write down and attempt to express, I know one thing: These are not my words.

They have been borrowed from my ancestors and my predecessors; those alike who feel far too much for their own liking, putting pragmatisms on a lower priority. I know I’ll say clichés and relatable things, which are time after time reiterated the same but of a different calibre. But my intention is not to be original. It is to make whomever I write about feel as special as I truly feel they are to my heart and soul. Words mean little unless they evoke personal feeling; they mean a plethora of things to someone that they are written about. This is why when one writes something, their words are monumentally significant to them, to their muses, for someone took the effort to pour themselves onto paper to share with the world how they were inspired by something. Should someone relate to them, then, all the better.

I write merely to feel more connected to the strange place that is the world, and it shall be the only reality that I can know. I want to belong to the waves of humanity that fuel my blood and run through my veins, encouraging my heart to beat and see what life will bring to me.

It is nice to be validated, so that one does not feel alone, just as it is equally nice to be commended for the skill possessed to do so adequately. What is the best, is to see this appreciation returned in some shape of form, for we are all artists of sentiment, able to fashion beautiful gestures.

I don’t expect to be remembered in the world where billions of lives are in the same plane of importance, each valuable and worthy of commemoration. All I want is for you to listen, and hope that the fundamental emotion of universality interacts with you the way the words of a friend do. Just like how the narrative of a novel resounds in your mind, and the presence of its pages makes you feel more at peace.

I hope you take the daily rituals of conversation and stand behind them, keeping the significance of words as powerful as all the great poets and authors do. For as of late, I know the letters that are strung together can be as hollow as a well that someone expects to have water, yet when they lower their pail down, thirsty for sincerity, can be met with nothing but an emptiness that inhibits sorrow. There was no malicious intent, but merely a passive neglect that was not realised. What a shame it is that such actions still damage, and the hurt usually surfaces as self-loathing, for it is far easier to hate yourself than to hate others. Literacy is common, so the art of literature and the craft of linguistic communication has become cheap, thrown around like a paper ball whose loss is not the least bit influential. I will not say that I do not fault in the way that I condemn, for it is difficult to keep up idealistic visions of how one thinks people should act. But I will promise that I am trying.

I cannot say the same for anyone else.

Favourite Poem of the Day: I Wrote A Good Omelet by Nikki Giovanni

I wrote a good omelet…and ate
a hot poem… after loving you
Buttoned my car…and drove my
coat home…in the rain…
after loving you
I goed on red…and stopped on
green…floating somewhere in between…
being here and being there…
after loving you
I rolled my bed…turned down
my hair…slightly
confused but…I don’t care…
Laid out my teeth…and gargled my
gown…then I stood
…and laid me down…
To sleep…
after loving you