Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Faith, Courage...

I received a piece of very exciting news today! Not related to me, but still, good news is good news no matter who it's meant for... My baby just received an invitation to an interview with ESCP-EAP (European School of Management) to do his MBA!! He's really hoping and praying to get in to this particular institution, not so much for the course that's offered, but more for the fact that it would allow him to study in both Paris and Madrid over the 2 years. He's pretty big on experiencing different cultures and picking up new languages so this would be a dream come true if he's accepted. He'd be able to finally brush up on his French, and learn Spanish. (He's gonna be speaking like a native waaaaaaaaay before I even get past my tenses and conjugations, eventhough I started trying to teach myself Spanish first!) :p I'm still terribly thrilled for him nonetheless, things are starting to look up a little!

With that said, it's suddenly starting to seem as though it's gonna take more than 2 years before we can be confident enough to even start to consider living in the same country. The thought is a little discouraging. 4 years apart from my sweetheart is gonna be pretty tough, and meeting twice a year isn't gonna help very much either... need lots of faith, courage and... determination?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Jail birds

Buddy quoted this to me the other day:

"A good friend is one who would bail you out of jail, but a great friend is one who would be sitting next to you in jail, asking 'how the hell did we end up in here?'"

Apparently, he feels that we'd be cell mates... Awwwwwwwwwwww!! Thank you sweets!!

Wanderlust 4 (con't)

Continuing from my previous post. I'm getting increasingly nervous about this strong desire to move away so quickly. What if I make irrational decisions that will cost me dearly in the future? Right now I'm faced with a slight problem of making a little more money (current pay sucks) so that I can save up and get a higher teaching qualification, and hence be able to get into an international school, where of course the pay's better. (I'm sorry but I've never really believed that money wasn't an issue). So now I'm seriously thinking about quitting teaching for awhile and apply for this job that pays twice as much AND allows me to relocate. I would have to sign a 3 year contract though, which would mean that by the time I actually get my Graduate Diploma in Education, I would be 31/32 years old, and STILL not settled. *shudder*

To help me overcome my indecision about jumping ship before finishing the remainder of my bond, Hiddenson brought up a good point. I'm from a country that has just as much adventure and culture to offer as other countries, so why don't I explore my homeland first before running off into the sunset in search of greener pastures? Makes sense. Why do the damn skies always have to be bluer on the otherside??

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Wanderlust 4

It's back, that restless feeling of wanderlust. This time bad enough to make me seriously consider moving away from teaching (temporarily), if that would help me get out of here. I have a suspicious feeling that holidays around the world is not enough to quench this urge to travel. The 5 years I've been here is starting to get to me. Unfortunately, as much as I would love to pack up and leave ASAP, it'll be at least another year or so before I can set any sort of plan into motion. My current situation with the government demands it. I wonder if they would realise that I bailed out on them 1 year too early if I decide to leave next month... Anyway, Dubai seems tempting all of a sudden...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Deutschland!



I've finally managed to work around my problem of uploading photos (thanks to Lola and Village Boy) so here are a few of my favourite pictures from my trip to Germany in Dec last year.

It was my first time there, and that coupled with the fact that I was gonna see my baby again left me with butterflies and ladybugs playing catch in my tummy. Anyway, I touched down at about 0530hrs on the 10th after a 13 hour flight, to cold cold weather, and sat through a four hour drive to Herbertingen, a beautiful little village, south of Stuttgart, where my sweetie puts up.

It was foggy with very little sun there, due to its close proximity to the Danube, but still very very pretty for everything was blanketed by frost.

The rest of this post I'll divide in sections based on the places I've been. It's gonna be pretty photo-heavy but I hope you'll enjoy them all the same...


MUNICH - 11th to 13th DEC

My first little adventure was to Munich to catch the Stuttgart-Bayern Munich game. A very important one apparently because my sweetie is a huge Stuttgart fan and absolutely detests Bayern-Munich... The train we took was a specially commissioned one to ferry the hardcore Stuttgart supporters to the battlegrounds. Celebrations were well underway by the time we got on board. Beer cans and vodka bottles were at an abundance, with a loud cacophony of 'singing' to accompany them. We chose not to sit in the cabins. Wasn't prepared to get drenched with beer...




Over-enthusiastic fans leaning out of the train at almost every station chanting and singing. Very amusing.




Munich station. It was jammed with bodies and security was tight. Yet, some drunk bugger figured it would be fun to throw a smoke bomb. Sad to say he didn't make it to the game once the police got to him.




My first experience at a football match in a stadium. The atmosphere was so contagious it wasn't long before I was chanting along (or trying to at least) with the Stuttgart fans.




Goal to Stuttgart!! Jochen (L) and Simon looked like little kids who'd just been told they could eat candy all day...




After sitting for almost 2 hours in -3oC temperatures, (I swear I was frozen!!) it was time to treat ourselves to some Feuerzangen - a type of mulled wine - to defrost ourselves.


The next couple of days were spent walking around the city and taking in the sights. I was also introduced to a typical Bavarian breakfast, consisting of Weisw├╝rst (white sausages), pretzels and weisbier. (I stuck to camomile tea btw... i needed all the warmth i could get!)


ULM - 14th DEC

Ulm is a small town about an hour away from Herbertingen by train, also the birth place of Albert Einstein, and home to the tallest church steeple in the world. Unfortunately we weren't able to climb to the top due to ice on the steps. Was quite diappointed.




Standing at 528 ft, visitors are allowed to ascend up to the 3rd gallery (469ft), after climbing a total of 768 steps.




My 2 favourite pictures of Ulm, the Danube running through the town, and cobblestoned streets, lending a very romantic air to the place.



BERLIN - 15th to 18th DEC

We bunked in with Jochen's best friend, Adam and his Colombian girlfriend, Carina. It was really nice of them to take us in for those 4 days.




Carina busy in the kitchen preparing dinner.


We spent the next few days just walking and visiting the major touristy spots. Our feet were sore and ready to fall off after the 3rd day. Jochen felt it the most since he'd not only been out with me in the days, but spent the nights out with Adam as well. Poor baby...




The Dom zum Berlin resplendent in the rays of the evening sun.





I was strongly requested to have this picture taken :)




Not bad for an amateur...



One of the many WeihnachtsMarkt (Christmas markets) I found myself braving the cold for. There was just so much to see, and the lights literally transformed the place into a fairyland making it so difficult to leave. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the right ambience... Jochen, bless his heart, followed me wherever my fancies beckoned and never once complained...




Schneeball!! These were gorgeous cookie-like munchies the size of large grapefruits. They came in an assortment of flavours, ranging from plain, to ones laden with amaretto. Yum! They also cost €3 each!


HERBERTINGEN

I was hell bent on seeing snow before I came back to Singapore, and up to the 18th, there was absoulutely no inkling of any snow whatsoever. I was starting to get a little worried. And then it happened. The day we were set to leave Berlin, the 4 of us were sitting in McDonalds (coz we missed our train home) when Jochen grabbed my arm and pointed outside. Falling gently from the sky, looking beautiful, soft and fluffy, were millions of snowflakes. It looked so magical, I was almost in awe... I just had to run outside and feel them on my face...





The little village of Herbertingen, looking like something straight out of a Christmas story picture book...



The field seen from his kitchen window at sunset.




My baby whipping us up a couple of unhealthy packets of instant noodles!




A get-together of most of Jochen's good friends at his place.


The remainder of the days were spent doing day-trips to nearby towns. We made a couple more visits to Ulm for Christmas presents, and 1 to Augsberg for a swim at the swimming club. Then as Christmas approached we stayed home more often. Christmas was lovely, as expected, and I particularly enjoyed watching his younger siblings tear open their presents and exclaim in excitement over each new item they received.

Well that's a snippet of my little holiday. Can't wait to see what it would be like in June!


Friday, April 08, 2005

Can't wait till July...

Ok, on a more positive note, I'll be going home in July!!! Only for a couple of days though, to attend the wedding of two good friends. It's gonna be on Saturday the 2nd, but I'll be arriving Friday night. What I'm really excited about this whole trip is the fact that my dearest dearest friend, whom I love to bits and would do anything for, promised to pick me up at the station and whisk me straight to the pubs to do what we used to do so often before I left... drink and have a bloody good time! Seeing that my stay would be extrememly short, he figured it would make perfect sense not to waste even a single minute of it... (Good thinking, man!) I have to say he's one of the reasons why I miss home so much. No matter how short my trip home would be, we would always squeeze in the time to meet up, even if it was only for a 30 minute drive around town or a 'teh tarik' down at the mamak. He's got the sweetest of hearts but the cheekiest of dispositions, and he can brighten the gloomiest of days. I swear, you just gotta love the guy. I am so looking forward to July!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

...

I feel terrible. I don't know why. I want the earth to open up and swallow me just so i wouldn't have to think about it. It's 2243hours and i really should be getting home but I can't bring myself to leave work. It's depressing to walk into an empty house. Well not really empty, my housemate and her boyfriend would be around, asleep, but this feeling of loneliness descends and seems to engulf me the minute I step foot into the place. I' ve spent an hour IM-ing a friend who's all the way in Australia, and the last 47 minutes reading old e-mails, some dating back to the year 2000. So now I've made things worse. I not only feel terrible, i'm also nostalgic and missing the days of yore. The days where nothing was complicated, you kept in touch with friends wherever they were in the world and the future was about which set of songs we'd be jamming next week, and getting through our finals. If only it were possible to just close my eyes and wish myself back 4 years. I'm not sure if I was happiest then but it sure as hell seems like it right now. How is it possible to have so many friends and yet feel so desperately lonely? Does everyone feel that way? When you move away from your country, from your childhood friends, will you ever feel at home again? I never felt homesick upon moving here, probably because I was never that far away to start with, and I was happy. But I'm beginning to feel like I don't belong anymore. I don't feel anchored. What if I'll never as happy as I want to be in a foreign country that I'm willing to leave everything else for and start over?

I can't think anymore. I think I better go home now...

Monday, April 04, 2005

oh no!!

Oh no!!! It's my dad's birthday in 5 days. It'll take about a week to reach him and I've not gotten a card yet!! I'm a terrible daughter... sigh


update: Never did send that card, called him instead :p

Ding-Dong Wedding Bells...

A colleague of mine walks into the teacher's room, face all aglow with a badly played nonchalance air about her. I eye her suspiciously... What is she up to? She casually sits beside me and says,

"I'm slowly breaking the news to everyone, ok."

Uh-oh.. what's up?

"George* proposed to me."

Sorry, what? Run that by me again? My brain had a little trouble comprehending. This from the guy who said he didn't wanna think about marriage for another 10 years? I turned and stared at her (picture: jaw dropped, eyes wide open, hands undecided if they should cover mouth or grab friend and shake her). I finally settle on two clenched fists in front of my mouth and a very high-pitched screech. Followed by a very resounding "Oh my GOD!!!!" Lots of hugging and hand squeezing and "oh my gods" later, we finally calm down enough to get down to the nitty gritty... How did he propose!!! (Why is this so important again??) It was then we were joined by another colleague, 6 months into her marriage, and very excited to share advice on the ABCs of choosing THE dress and THE ring. What entails is about 30 mins of gushing and sighing and excited hand clapping, after which Karen* and I actually try to persuade the now overwhelmed bride to be to go across the road and try on several dresses, "just so you'll have a rough idea". Our euphoria is dampened a little though, by Sheryl* pronouncing both of us mad and delirious, and then saying how terrified she feels about the whole thing. Awwwwww... The poor dear. Of course we start up again 2 seconds later, this time with WHERE the wedding should be held. We're all gunning for an Italian fare, since he hails from the country that gave the world pasta and gelato. And that's when I find out that a typical Western wedding would probably only involve between 55-70 guests, whereas a typical Asian wedding would see anything between 200 - 500 guests, or more depending on your culture. I guess Asians tend to ensure that everyone even remotely related to you are invited. Out of respect...

Anyway, there's excitement in the air (mostly due to the women folk) and I bet you every other single female, will be surfing the net at one point or other to "check out a dress" or "wonder which ring would look nice on me".

Nevertheless, congratulations Cheryl! We're all thrilled for you. Don't worry about the hen party, it'll all be taken care of!



*names have been changed. Part of the deal if I wanted to post this :p

Yakkity Yak, Don't Talk Back!

I just realised something... I need to talk to people. I've always enjoyed a good natter with someone about anything under the sun... as long as it involved an exchange of ideas and opinions. It helps get my mind away and working on things other than 'Elmer and Friends' and 'The Rainbow Fish'. Unfortunately, all my running around sorting things out and settling new children has left me with absolutely no time to sit down and have a decent conversation with anyone. And hence, I feel as though my mind's running on empty. God what a scary thought! Of course there are other ways of challenging the mind... reading for example. But that's so one-way. It's just me and my thoughts, unless I can find someone who is reading or has read the book, then it would probably be a great avenue for a discussion. Besides, unlike a novel that I can usually devour in about 2-3 days if allowed the luxury of time, stuff like, 'Wild Swans', and 'Siddharta' don't generally allow for such easy reading... So i turn to humankind to get the cogs turning.

A couple of weeks back, I found myself and 3 others, in the middle of a somewhat 'fierce' debate between two colleagues on whether Perception equaled Reality. It was pretty interesting. Interesting in the sense that both parties used various fields of study to argue their point... from philosophy and religion, to physics and biology, which in turn prompted more questions, so much so that the whole discussion was in danger of coagulating into one huge and complicated mess had our 'moderator' not made sure we stayed on track. Yes, we tend to get carried away sometimes... But it's all in the spirit of fun and your brain does get a mini workout at the same time :)

Conclusion: I NEED TO TALK TO PEOPLE!!! I'm going outta my mind here!!