Singapore

IRRELEVANCE ALL AROUND!

1. So I just had this conversation with someone: 

me: hey what’s up
demi: good
me: what are you doing tonight? 
demi: …
me: omg that totally wasn’t what i meant!! 

But it was totally cool, I think (I hope). There are now people I feel affection for, though sometimes I find myself forgetting to be more than I think I should be; I turn careless, the way I think the people here sometimes are with everyone being familiar and always around, and I’ve realized that I say thank you or please a lot less now, even when I mean it in my head (the culture here, I think; I feel way too polite, but that shouldn’t be the case) and I don’t smile at people sometimes, even, though I am thinking a smile.

I had a good dinner with people today. During lunch, I taught someone to swear in Chinese (“他妈的”, which isn’t even that bad) and I told him to go say it to my Chinese housemate, and he got so mad, it was hilarious. Mido (2nd year Palestinian) taught me a terrible Arabic swear word that is actually apparently really bad and taken really seriously, because I kind of whispered it to Shatha, (1st year Libyan) and her face went O: O: O: and she was like omg don’t say that!! 

2. I am totally acclimatizing! I walked around in shorts today (albeit with a winter coat on top but that was mostly because it was so fluffy and comfortable.) The thing is that, you kind of get used to it if you’re exposed, and as long as your core is warm (and my torso was really, really warm), your legs are mostly fine. It was around 6-8 deg C today, I think? (: Tomorrow is going to be a great, sunny day – though this winter is supposedly going to be the harshest in 50 years \o/ Snow! 

3. Speaking of tomorrow, I’m kind of excited because it’s TOK day, which means (yes, no school but also) experiential workshops in the mornings and teacher/peer talks after lunch, and then a talk by someone coming in, and also HOMEWORK AMNESTY TONIGHT (I may be designating a lot of this) and SLEEP-IN TOMORROW. Also, I’m co-conducting a workshop on the Chinese language and the use of chopsticks! with the two Chinese co-years and we had a discussion entirely in Chinese and that felt really awesome, and I am wearing a qipao tomorrow, and playing a Jay Chou song with insane rap, and I hope it will be ~exciting.

There are many cool things about Chinese (in our background about Mandarin, we’re talking about the difference between traditional and simplified characters and the development of the characters themselves from pictorial depictions of actual things and how metaphorical the composition of it is – 危机, crisis, comes from ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’, for example!) and so it is pretty exciting. I just feel a little insincere, because it wasn’t like I was so passionate about Chinese before, and now it’s kind of like I’m just seizing upon something that identifies me as distinct from the rest of the people here, appropriating a culture that wasn’t entirely mine or valued before. Still, your mother tongue.

4. I feel like I’m spending a lot. Grocery shopping is not cheap, actually, and I am not confident of bulk-buying because I don’t feel like I cook regularly enough to justify it, and the amount I’ll have to spend at once is alarming, even though if I divide it by the length, it’ll be cheaper, but I am inexperienced at planning that way as yet, so I am being timid.

5. Finally, have a poem:

"Relax"
Ellen Bass

Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter’s age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she’s a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat—
the one you never really liked—will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours, for a month.
Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you’ll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn’t plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you’ll come home to find your son has emptied
your refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up—drug money.
There’s a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs halfway down. But there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice—one white, one black—scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here’s the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth.

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