birthday date with myself

I turned eighteen on the 27th. Didn’t do much on the day, but was surprised with a wonderful party by my friends at my house which was so touching.

Today, though, I decided to take myself on a little date and kinda just enjoy my own company for a bit. Also I wanted to get out of the house because I could slowly feel my skin grafting onto my bedsheets.

So my mum kindly drove me to this place in town with one of my favourite bookstores, Kinokuniya, armed with my Kanken bag and $100 in angpow money kindly given to me by my grandmother.

It was in a really upscale part of the city, and I didn’t really realise how underdressed I was until I stepped through the doors in slippers, a school shirt and shorts.

I was a rubber slipper girl in a Louboutin world.

I decided to ignore this and headed straight to the bookstore and spent a solid two hours there, just reading and enjoying the books and the atmosphere in general.
Of course, I spent most of my $100 getting some books.

3/5 of them are by authors whose books I’ve never read before (with the exception of Jane Austen and Edgar Allen Poe), so quite happy.

I’ll do a little run-through of the books now.

One of my favourite authors!

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Jane Austen is one of my favourite writers- I mean, she’s up there with Dickens for me. In my opinion, she was a female writer ahead of her time- in a period of history where her sister authors were writing what were deprecatingly referred to as “novels”- a word that had very negative connotations because it referred to books that were considered “flighty” (basically, probably every romance novel today) and unworthy of being read by those who knew better, she wrote realistic and believable prose that managed to both separate itself from the over-romanticised and dramaticised love stories that saturated the market (think: The Monk) through its matter-of-fact portrayals of love and romance, while simultaneously supporting the rising genre of the “novel” which was not held in high esteem by the highly-educated and stiff-upper-lipped in English society. This is especially apparent in Northanger Abbey, which I am not ashamed to say I have read over twenty times.

Edgar Allen Poe, Tales of Horror

I believe there was another anthology of his called Tales of Something Else but I really can’t remember the name at the moment. It’s basically a collection of Poe’s short stories. I read some in comic version years ago in the children’s section of my library and I loved it, so I decided I would give it a try again in straight prose.

I’m someone who isn’t too fond of change, so I re-read the same books over and over again until they are literally in tatters. I just find it comforting to have the familiar plot play out, in the words that I’ve long memorised. Gives me a sense of security, I suppose, because in that few hours of reading I am absolutely sure of the future.

W. Somerset Maugham, The Merry-Go-Round

No idea who Maugham is, read the blurb, read the first paragraph, and decided I rather liked it and it was coming home with me.

N.B.: I was looking it up and I nearly got a heart attack when I read a review of the exact edition that I have which says that it’s not complete and the actual book is 400 pages long. Did I just get an abridged version? Quelle horreur! 

 

Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

It sounded like a very interesting premise, with a highly intelligent child and the murder of a dog involved. Although I am and can relate to neither of those elements in the novel, I found them very interesting and unique while still being realistic. I’m not usually one for high-fantasy or Sci-Fi or things like that, I like books that are based on and in real life on earth. Just personal preference, but I’m really trying to get into more fantasy novels lately like Lord of the Rings and the Song of Ice and Fire series. Plus I really liked Ready Player One which Booktube recommended to me. So I’m making progress!

Anthony Mara, The Tsar of Love and Techno

I’m actually super interested in both Russian culture and history so if I see the word “Tsar” on the cover of a book I’m definitely going to check it out.

Now, after enjoying one of my favourite meals (Vegetarian Aglio Olio from this pasta place called Once Upon a Thyme, $6), I read a bit of Mansfield Park and am now studying.

Some might call it a boring way to spend an eighteenth, but I’ve never been one for huge birthday bashes. I do appreciate them, but mostly for the time I get to hang out with friends. Personally, the idea of having a “Sweet Sixteenth” or a really crazy, alcohol-filled “legal” birthday celebration isn’t very necessary, if you’re having one just because the movies and pop culture told you to and not because you genuinely want to. But if you want to go ahead and make your birthday special, by all means! It’s just not really for me. Everyone has their own ways of celebrating.

Also, as I type, the sun is shining like crazy outside but it’s also raining. The person who came up with the idea to dub dark, cloudy, gloomy days “bad weather” has obviously never been in a sunshine-y thunderstorm, because those are the worst. In a normal thunderstorm you’re at least able to snuggle in your blanket and drink hot chocolate and be all poetic about the weather. But there’s nothing poetic about a sunshine-y thunderstorm. It’s just hot and wet and you can feel the humidity on your skin- the most accurate description I can come up of what being in a sunshine-y thunderstorm is like is, that it’s kinda like being doused by a bucket of lukewarm water while stepping into equally lukewarm puddles while wearing dry socks. Plus you’re inhaling steam with every breath. And you’re sweaty.

Basically, it really, really sucks.

Overall, though, it’s been an amazing day. I’m home now and I feel really happy and satisfied with what I did, and even if other people may not have chosen to spend their birthday/money on the same things that’s fine because spending some time alone made my birthday special to me.

I guess something I wanna say in this post is, don’t be afraid to hang out with yourself once in a while. If you don’t feel like you need to have an extravagant birthday party every year, if you don’t feel like you have to go out with 90278298 friends every time you leave the house, don’t do it just because it’s the “socially acceptable” thing to do.

And yes, there is a sort of- well, I won’t say stigma, but it’s more of an unwritten societal rule that it’s weird to hang out by yourself. It’s weird to walk into a restaurant and get a table and a fancy dinner for one. Passer-bys unconsciously give people who are sitting alone pitying looks. I felt weird the first time I decided to walk into a restaurant and get a table for one as well, but after a while I realised: if I’m so dependent on other people to have fun and be happy, can I really call myself a confident person?

Part of learning to love yourself is learning to be alone. Sure, some thrive on company and friends and I, being a more extroverted person, certainly do. I just think that we should be able to say, “I love my friends and am blessed and thankful to have them, but I don’t need the presence of others to find myself interesting, smart, clever, or to feel appreciated or wanted, because I as a person am inherently all of those things.”

So yeah! Some thoughts on my birthday date with myself. I hope this kind of inspires someone to take themselves out as well! Let me know if you do end up trying it 🌸

Advertisements

2220 

Ran 2.4 km today (in American terms, about one and a half miles) and it felt so good to finally break 14 min! Been trying so hard since secondary school to run faster, but it’s only this year that I’m getting serious about self-training. Good job to me *pats self on back* because we all need a little self-love once in a while. 

PLUS! As I was typing this we just got our configs and I’M IN K4! I’m so so super pumped right now, you wouldn’t even believe this has really made my night goodness me

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, a K4 is a crew boat with four paddlers, as opposed to a K1 which is a single-man kayak. A K2 is a double-man kayak.

I love sports. There’s a kind of beauty in its simplicity- on the court, nothing matters but the goal. There’s no drama to be resolved, there are no deadlines looming, there’s nothing but you and the game, you and your team, you and the sweat and exhaustion dripping from every pore in your body until the final whistle blows and you know that you’ve done your best. Sports lets you let go. 

1801 // texts

scene: a classroom. Fans whirring. Pens clicking. Teacher nattering. Otherwise- dead silence.

Girl, about eighteen, stain on her shirt, crumpled collar, rumpled spirit. Glances around. Takes out phone. Begins texting. 

get me out of here omg 

Girl puts phone facedown on desk. Seconds later, phone buzzes. Phone is picked up. She glances at the screen, reading the message.

– ten more minutes.

– it’s been, like, ten days and she still hasn’t shut up

– u got this

– no i don’t

– yes u do

– no i don’t i’m about to die

– really?

– yea

– oh.

– i’m serious i wanna kill myself

– u don’t have the guts

– try me

Phone goes silent. Two minutes later, screen lights up with a new message.

– people can do anything they set their mind to

– except listen to her 

A pause. The girl looks up. The teacher has stopped talking, is looking at her. She puts the phone in her lap. Teacher turns back to board. Girl picks up phone again.

almost got caught. 

– serve u right

– ok????? rude much

– i was joking.

– i hope u get caught texting

Silence for a while.

– same.

– lol what 

– imagine if someone walked by me right now

– lol you’d be screwed

– maybe. 

– u know u would be.

– btw i was joking about u getting caught 

– i know. Where r u now

– idk. 

– ? 

– i kinda just wandered here.

– what do u mean

– idk where i am.

– ?? how can u not know. r u in school

– no.

– what why

– i’m just kidding.

Phone goes silent for the third time. The girl waits, eyes narrowed, at the phone screen. Did her friend cut school? Then, a message pops up.

– i was joking. i’m in maths.

– damn. 

– yea. Sucks. 

– life sucks.

– yea.

– what topic?

– why do u need to know

– i’m just curious

– oh.

Phone falls silent again as the girl waits for elaboration. She scratches her nose, then picks up her pen and draws a squiggly line across the paper to pretend she’s doing something. Phone buzzes.

– do u ever feel like

– ?

– do u ever feel like

– what

– like

– ?? 

– nvm.

– tell me!!!!

– like your life is so meaningless 

?

– like no matter what u do you’re never gonna get anywhere or do anything 

– i mean i’m in physics right now

– but i dont mean that kind of thing, i mean… have u ever felt like u just couldn’t take any more from life and you’ve failed so many times at everything you love and

– and?

– and that everything was so unfair and that you just kinda wanted to

– ?

– nvm lol. Maths vibes

u ok? 

– yea i’m fine. go back to work.

– u sure u all right? 

– i will be, just need some time

– see u in the canteen? If u have time

– ok. See you.

– deal? Don’t abandon me like u did last time

– i’ll consider

– u better not

Girl puts phone back on the table. She is mildly worried, but brushes the feeling aside. It will pass.

Scene change: a rooftop. It’s early afternoon. The air is hot and full of birdsong and the smell of pollution. 

Another girl is there. Tall, big eyes, slippers. Hasn’t brushed her hair. Her phone dangles thoughtfully from her fingers and sweat clings to her neck. She steps forward, looks down. Blinks. Looks at her phone. Thinks a moment. Types a word, and deletes it, and types it in again. Drops her phone on the ground. It cracks.

A bird swoops past. The girl hesitates. Another bird flies past.

The girl squares her shoulders, and takes a deep breath. Chokes on it and the weight of her decisions. She clenches her fists. They are trembling. The girl lets out a breath. Steps forward.  Joins the birds in their flight. 

. . .

Phone lies on the ground, broken screen, but with the texts still legible. If you picked it up, you’d be able to read the last message she ever sent.

sorry man, i ran out of time.

0109

2017-01-08

Anyone else on Duolingo?

Right now I’m concentrating on Russian, and I’ll probably move on to French after about a few more months when I’m more familiar with Russian. I wanna learn Polish and Ukrainian as well (can you tell I have a thing for Slavic languages), hopefully moving on to Dutch at some point in time as I learn German in school. It would be interesting to attempt Hebrew, but we’ll see. currently speak fluent English, as well as semi-fluent Chinese (my Mother Tongue).

I find that, to use Duolingo (it’s an app as well by the way!), basic knowledge of grammar (things like conjugations, gender of nouns, adjective endings etc.) really helps maximise your learning experience. I definitely recommend learning a little grammar before using duolingo. Also, for languages that have a different alphabet to the language you’re familiar with (e.g. Russian which uses the Cryllic alphabet), you should learn to pronounce/read it first.

I really recommend this for language enthusiasts, because it provides not only resources to practise and learn new languages, it also means you have a community of fellow learners who can help you with any difficulties. It’s just nice to have company when you’re trying something new, y’know?

#randomupdatebecauseican