My dear body,
Thank you a gazillion times for holding up spectacularly through a massively hectic trip, and then a gruelling work load right after. For not getting sick while I was away (although I know at one point you were very close to it), and only collapsing now that everything is over. (ah choo!) Thank you legs for dragging me around for 10-14 hours a day checking all the sights; and arms for dragging the luggage through 6 cities, 5 flights, 3 train trips, and countless walks on cobble-stones. Thanks ears for hearing, eyes for seeing, tongue for tasting, and brain for making it all happen and not getting lost (too often). You guys make such a wondrous team that I am extremely lucky to possess. I promise to look after you better, feed you healthy(er) food, gain back the 3 kilos of you that I lost, and let you dance & exercise a whole lot more. After all, we’ve got that ski trip in just under 3 months, haven’t we? 😉
I love you so much, you tough little nut!
Yes, it has been a while. I was contemplating starting the blog back from where I left off (i.e. before the European adventure), but have decided against it. It’ll never get done that way. So I’m just going to start from here and now, and return to fill in the gap as time goes on.
So. Back home one day and straight to (hard) work the next. Now it’s done and I’m a little lost. Even blogging feels strange. Such indulgence! (I was writing in a real notepad using a real pen on the road. No fancy formatting or photo upload or backspace button, but “back to basic” doodling and smearing ink on fingers was rather fun.) It feels just like the last day of Uni. What to do now? And then you get so overwhelmed with possibilities you don’t know where to start. Well, first thing first: going to rest my overly tired body and start on the books I bought on the trip. Oh yes of course I got books. What else do you think I’d buy?!
Back soon, digital diary.
~return of the t~
Now that airspace has been cleared over Euroland, I’ve managed to get all my accommodation & train tickets booked. It took much longer than I’d thought – reading reviews, checking maps, comparing cost, daydreaming about how it’ll be over there. (The last bit, I reckon, was the most time-consuming part.) Gosh, at this rate I’ll probably hype myself up so much that the actual trip will feel like an anti-climax, like chi Hoa said. But no matter, it was time well spent, I’ve already learnt a fair bit about the cities just from poring over Google maps and railway operators’ websites until I went cross-eyed. Because had I rushed through the whole selection process, I wouldn’t have nailed a quaint little hostel right on the river bank, smack bang in the middle of Prague! 6 days to wake up to a sight of gothic castles swathed in the morning light. Oh joy of joys! And that’s not it, 5 nights spent in a place 5 minutes to the Sacre Coeur & Moulin Rouge in Paris. Woohoo!
So does it matter that I’ll have to work my little butt off to pay back this massive credit card bill? Does it?
(Rhetorical question, of course.)
I talk of grand plans. Of achieving the world, winning the world, conquering the world. Well, okay, not really. Completely forgot for a moment there that I wasn’t Caesar. But at least, of travelling the world. Of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling a good chunk of it, while I’m still on it. But nothing, nothing can ever compare to seeing my parents, to see them smile, frown, laugh, raise eyebrows. To hear them talk, scold, joke, raise voices. To hug them & kiss them, hold Mum’s hand and pat Dad’s tummy. Even if it means now and again there’d be arguments, err… I mean, disagreement. For it’s unlikely that they will ever stop pressuring, nor will I ever stop rebelling. For they’re the parents and I the first born. It’s our job, isn’t it, to uphold stereotypes? 😉
So I made a pact with myself, to stop by and see them every time I go on a major trip. Even if only for a short time. And frankly, short times are often sweeter, before we run out of patience for each other. I have done that the last few times (twice to China & once to the US), and will try my best to keep it up. How’s that for the best plan of the year, hey?
I said: I’d like to go to Prague!
Our gorgeous Ukrainian said: But you’re gonna be in Europe. You have to check out Kiev & St. Petersburg! April / May is the best time!
Another lovely Ukrainian German said: But Berlin is only 2 hours away by train and also, Hannover is amazing! And Autumn’s not bad either.
Mum reminded: Yes, and don’t forget you’ve got a cousin in Germany too. End of Spring is beautiful.
A Dutch friend said: But Amsterdam! Surely you cannot NOT come here. Winter is just as fine! Snow everywhere. White Christmas.
Mr. Man felt like he HAD to chip in: You know what? You just can’t get past London! And down to Brighton. Watching summer fields along the way…
A friend in Paris offered: And since you’re already down South, just hop across the channel, I’ll have it all planned out for you when you’re here.
And so my head spinning, my eyes watering, my heart thumping, all I heard is Blah Blah Bloody Blah. I wanted to yell at them. That this is NOT helping! That it’s not like I can just blow my nose and 24K gold would come squirting out like a broken tap! That you guys had better stop all this name dropping and show me how to rob a bank, or else, JUST HAND OVER YOUR WALLETS QUICK SMART!!!
But of course I didn’t yell. Instead, I went over to a corner to stare at the (coloured!) map at the back of my diary. And sulked.
My new diary, which is rather cute with a fancy canvas cover, has a world map on a page at the back. A coloured map at that, too. Which kinda ruins the purpose of a diary – to keep you focused at work, because I keep staring at it and daydreaming about the places I STILL haven’t been to! It also has 12 pages for financial record at the front, which I’ve ripped off and thrown in the bin. Says a lot about me doesn’t it? *sigh*
And so I made this. It’ll have to do for now.
No. Not about the book. But I thought of that line one day in Shanghai, when A. and I were walking along Fuzhou Lu in the morning. Now Fuzhou Lu is kinda like Russell St in Melbourne, not the top-motch main street, but also quite a busy one in the city center. We saw this little boy of about 5, having some kind of a fight with his Mum. She was trying to hold him back and he was yanking his hand away. Then he broke free, went to a tree, pulled down his pants and peed. Just like that. (And didn’t I just blurb out a little poem right there? Go, me!)
A. and I didn’t know whether to point and laugh, or turn up our nose and scorn. His Mum was standing there wishing the earth would crack under her feet and she could disappear. We ended up laughing quietly. Without the pointing though, didn’t want to get into trouble. But honestly, I thought it was hilarious, and cute too. I mean, stuff civilisation, manners, and all sorts of social boundaries. Stuff concrete, urban planning, tourist spots. Stuff the fact that the government allows all these food and drink shops sprouting up everywhere and yet it takes forever to find a decent public toilet. (Which is my biggest peeve about Asia. I mean, so the “import” end is fine, what about “export”?! Ugh!) Stuff all of that. Isn’t it wonderful to be at an age that, when you have to pee you just HAVE TO PEE? Simple as ever.