Tag Archives: europe

Day 1: Paris

Here’s an embarrassing confession: my geography stinks.

In school when national exams came up, I happily substituted geography for English literature even though NONE of my teachers taught it. With two months before the exam, I had to steal notes from my cousin’s literature class. For the first time, I found myself tackling the bewildering but fascinating language of Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet and the Pearl. It was my first exposure to literature beyond the swashbuckling tales of Robin Hood and King Arthur.

I got a B for that exam. And as you can imagine, I couldn’t tell you where Germany is on the map and the only reason I know where Norway is is because I once tried to conquer it in the Crusader Kings war strategy video game.

Therefore it shouldn’t surprise you that I did not expect the ferry.

I honestly thought that one gets from England to France by a long, long BRIDGE. Hey, Malaysia has an island called Penang, accessible by a nifty 13km bridge. San Francisco, a beautiful windy city that reminds me of Edinburgh, also has a 2.7km Golden Gate Bridge.

Bridges are cool. Bridges are awesome.

Naturally there’ll be a bridge connecting Dover and Calais, right? Right?

“So ulu (backward) are you,” my mom remarked at me later, shaking her head.

This (supposedly artistic) picture just doesn’t do it justice. I can’t wait to get up close to the Eiffel Tower.

Plan for Day 2: Ditch the parentals to go on a solo Paris adventure 😀

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Filed under Fantasy, Leisure, Malaysia, Photography, Triumph

Day 0: London

Damn, London is wet.

But the air is cool and refreshing on top of a moving bus! In Malaysia, you’d be promptly baked in two seconds if you were to try this under the blazing sun.

Why would anyone sit and look at London through the rain-blurred glass of a window? I’m beginning to wonder if the water here has stripped the tourists of their sense of adventure…or if it’s simply that I am a loon.

Tomorrow, Paris.

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Off to Europe I go!

It has finally happened. After a year of planning, I am actually visiting Europe! I’ve been in the UK for three years now, and as much as Edinburgh is gorgeous, I have also wistfully eyed the magical-seeming lands of Paris and Switzerland, and clung to the tales of seasoned travellers.

And now it’s happening. My parents and family friends have landed in Edinburgh, and in two hours we will be making our way to Glasgow, and on to London where our month-long coach tour will begin. I wonder what will happen?

Will I see Italian hunks as beefy as Scotland’s?

Will I stalk the flowers of Florence and the stems of Slovenia?

WILL I GET TO HUG A GRECIAN COLUMN?

Time will time! Seriously, I don’t know how the coach tour guides do it. After only two days of showing my parentals around Edinburgh, I am dead tired. And I hardly did anything but point them to places and utter, “This historic. This pretty. Take pictures of it.”

I don’t plan to be idle on my Europe journey, however. I’ve got my novel simmering in my netbook, and I hope to tinker with it, editing-wise, in my spare time.

(What’s that? Are those knowing snickers I hear in the background?)

Onwards and upwards!

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Filed under Books, Family, Malaysia, Novel, Triumph, Writing

Once More for the Skies, Dear Friends

Pretty in spring

I’m back. Again. Hello, anyone!

A lot can happen in six months. Or seven. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. And when the days fly past, part of me can’t help but feel guilty on days when I’m not squeezing every drop of creative brain juice possible onto the page by the time the clock hits bedtime.

But as a friend pointed out, I need Sanity Breaks too!

I’ve needed a lot of Sanity Breaks this year.

Here is a quick summary – Good and Bad – of what’s happened/happening since February.

  • I had the most amazing time in Texas – yay!
  • I returned home safely to Edinburgh (I swear!)
  • I had one  short story published in an anthology
  • I’m halfway to editing my Malaysian urban fantasy novel (faster! *cracks whip*)
  • I’ve been frantically planning a trip to Europe this month with my parents – woo!
  • I’ve been working full-time in a clothing store since April – double yay!

Yes, after months of agonising, dread and drama, I finally chased down that most elusive quarry – a permanent full-time job in the UK. Pity it took a year before I could corner it, but better late than never, at least!

A summer view outside my window

The sad thing about it? My visa expires this year on Dec 10, and that means I must go home to Malaysia, leaving behind a gorgeous city and amazing, amazing friends. And because I’d be disappearing the whole month of October for my Europe trip, I had to resign from my job end of September. No company was going to let me beam off the planet for a month and take me back another month, only for me to disappear into the Delta Quadrant when December hits. Unless you were a Very Nice company.

It’s been an incredible experience nonetheless, these past few months, working in the clothing store. But that’s a story for another day.

The Bad News

The downside? Let’s just say I’ve had a bit of an emotional crisis. The kind that involves family, challenges your sense of identity and esteem, and bitchslaps when you choose to butt heads against walls people have built an entire lifetime. The kind of crisis that makes you want to curl in bed and give up.

I have to admit: May, June were tough months. It was hard to concentrate. I had the emotional equivalent of train wrecks stuck on Repeat in my brain. I spent months questioning who I am, what I am, what I should be.

Even now, with the Europe trip of a lifetime about to kick off in just four days…well, some days are hard.

But guess what?

I’m still here, still writing, still living and reaching for the Dream.

I am Rocky Balboa. I am Jean Grey. I am hunger and anger and joy and pain, and I am NOT giving up. Blue skies, ahoy!

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Filed under Depression, Family, Malaysia, Novel, State of Mind, Work, Writing