Musings / Singapore / Updates

between grief and nothing

1. This album has been on constant loop the past few days, enough that I feel obliged to buy a copy when it’s properly released. Another Canadian band, of course – funny how they weren’t Canadian until I spent two years in Canada, eh?

waiting at arrivals by the baggage carousel 
time can be a tyrant but it’s always served you well
a game is just a game and a prize is just a prize
how do you keep a straight face when you’re telling all these lies
you are the one you are the bullet in the chamber of the gun
you are the long-forgotten prodigal son
and you will be here ages after I’m gone
I can only hope to kill you with a song
– song is a weapon, stars

Very evocative, very … north-y. It feels cold and misty and clear, like an early winter morning. The album’s titled The North. I’d love to visit, someday.

2. My last lesson with my favorite class was a bit of an experience: I had to extricate myself from their chattering. They are extremely sweet girls, though, and very, very earnest. There was a card, and it’s as RGS as I remember, and it reminded me fondly of how warm and nurturing RGS was (for me, at least). I was talking to my teacher day before last, and he said that he thought it was the easiest to shape young minds; teens aged 13-17 are more malleable, overall. Psychologically speaking, I think that’s right – any influence at older ages has to be more intellectual to have any impact. There is a large part of me that is still very RGS, and I don’t think that is going to change dramatically. I see it as idealism and the assumption of leadership with all its attendant weight and privilege(s) and a genuine sense of camaraderie. It’s given me most of expectations I ask of myself, and what has come after has been development, reinforcement, but I think RGS was an introduction.

Perhaps I am romanticizing it a little. There are, of course, faults in a system where the girls moan at the thought of a nine-day break because of all the ‘mugging’ they have to do for seventh-grade exams another month away, which is why I tried hard to make classes even a little fun for them, and going by the notes the girls wrote, that worked very well for at least some of them.

(Because I am over-invested in things like this, I made all my classes giant scrapbook pages, though admittedly a significant part of that was just my compulsion to make pretty things, since I’d unwittingly bought enough scrapbook materials to qualify for a VIP card at the scrapbooking store!)

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3. I am quite behind on some correspondence; I simply cannot muster the energy to write back to people sometimes, especially acquaintances. It is something I shall endeavor to work on through university, of course. I’ll have met quite a few people before this week is up, both friends and acquaintances. Had lunch/dinner with two of my closest friends yesterday and two days before, with the latter event letting me run into more acquaintances because of its location at SMU, and then I went for an impromptu UWC dinner with a few alums attending/who had just attended their ten-year reunions, which was very pleasant indeed the day before. Talked to a junior about her Cambridge application yesterday afternoon, and will go for the Oxford Singapore students chalet this Saturday (thrilled, positively).

The feeling of being a bystander to your friends’ distant lives is a curious one, indeed. It was different being the one who left, of course, because for another year and a half, I could still reconstruct their predominant setting from memory, trace their circling paths from their words. Now, every single university campus is a foreign one, and even Pearson is rendered strange through the introduction of … fresh blood (:

But the reminder is a relief, that experience to heartbreak does not inure you to future attachments and their dissolution (metaphorical or otherwise), but merely arms you with the knowledge that this, too, shall pass. (That is one of my most comforting refrains.)

So it wasn’t just memory. Memory was just half of it, it wasn’t enough. But it must be somewhere, he thought … Because if memory exists outside of the flesh it won’t be memory because it won’t know what it remembers so when she became not then half of memory became not and if I become not then all of remembering will cease to be.–Yes, he thought, between grief and nothing I will take grief.
The Wild Palms, William Faulkner

So that’s that. I am simultaneously so thrilled at the prospect of meeting the exciting, renewed future images of my friends and aggrieved at the certainty of the knowledge that there will be ones who will have fallen into mutual disenchantment with me, but how the ranks will break and form is a mystery. I told my girls, be excited! life is very exciting. It is, isn’t it? There’s that.

4. I’ve spent much money this month than I’ve mentally budgeted, but hopefully not ultimately more than what I’ve made. A little uncertain about university finances, to be honest. I submitted my UK visa application yesterday  and expect to receive it in two weeks’ time. My flight is booked for September 27. Jolly good. Counting down a month, now!

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