Saturday, June 25, 2011

On weekdays

On weekdays, it's all about work. Most days, I'm super exhausted with no one to blame but myself. I'm trying to do, in essence, the work of two people with one body. In an effort to make up for the insipid routine of my past life. Some days I collapse into bed at 8ish; I thought I was nocturnal, but my body has somehow adapted to being up early in the morning while it's still dark, and shutting my eyes before twilight. Having met so many people on working weekdays, my weekends are now quiet, peaceful ones.

On weekends, I think about love. Or rather, allow my mind to deliciously, wander into almost forbidden territory. Taking a solitary walk to the nearby prata shop, order an egg-and-onion; and sweet hot milk tea, and immerse myself in a novel that speaks of love, or the notion of it, set in the 18th century where love, like today, is frail, often temporal, fleeting, momentary. As they write about the moments that imprint themselves into the beloved/lovelorn's mind with deep intensity, I too find myself harkening back to that short, split second where my eyes chanced upon his smile, an almost rakish smile that burst right open into a full, embracing, warm smile from the heart, a sort of indescribable happiness at this intangible moment we shared, for a minute, for that moment. And in unexpected moments, while hanging on for dear life in a crowded train, or while I sit on a bench to rest my feet, that dear image springs to mind, and I forget my senses, and smile back as if Moppet was here. I wished he knew what was written on my heart. But I'd never have the guts to tell!

I wrote(tweeted) earlier this week that; if love came easy for me... ... then I'd never be able to treasure the simple moments of just... walking hand in hand, and without sounding overwhelmingly overwrought, I'd always have taken that for granted otherwise, until I realize how hard it is to find, or for someone to find you, in the midst of the madness that is the everyday sameness of life.

On weekdays, I try to limit myself to one cup of coffee everyday. I found yummy English chips (I am a chips aficionado!!!) and red velvet cake (my latest obsession!!! I never thought that sg sells red velvet cake and maybe one day I will discover crumpets too) at a cafe nearby; and just opposite, curry puffs freshly baked in flavors of potato and egg, chicken, sardine. Piping hot curried potato just smells and tastes heavenly!

Myself and my colleague has taken to mid-morning snacks of curry puffs so often that everyone now knows of their existence. I hate the morning commute, especially during the half eight crunchtime, I literally see people sprinting to their offices, running through the tunnels. Too often for my liking I have been bodily pressed on scruffy looking industrial workers whose knapsacks have never been washed and seem covered in layers of cobwebs and gray schtuff.

Plus, they smell, so I often wake up earlier and reach before crunchtime, sit at the coffee place below my office building and eat a muesli bar and drink my morning cuppa. I have a quiet stranger-companion sitting next to me most mornings. He has a shocking shade of red hair, which made me feel a little sorry for him, and is as tall as Moppet, and I believe from the same country, although he has never so much as uttered a word in my presence. He always orders the same thing, a sandwich, orange juice, coffee, and reads the same magazine from the coffeeshop daily until he recently bought a playbook or one of those pad computer thingys. I start work half and hour earlier than him so we often see each other coming or going; except for that 10 minute overlap of time where we both sit in the same spot.

Immersed as I was in my book reading habit, I scarcely paid any attention to him til one day I heard strange noises (angry bird?) emanating from his table, mere inches away from my ear, and I turned to look for the source of the noise, and there he was, playing some game before work, after sandwiches. He always walks off in a northeasterly direction and arrives the same way, so Red isn't working in the same building as me. Sometimes, we spot each other at our nearest Starbucks, and, in silent acknowledgement of 2 familiar strangers etching out a living in the buildings dotting the central business district, you may see that the sides of our mouth are upturned, just a little bit, in recognition.

Monday, June 20, 2011

quite good...

If that's the way the English speak then I don't understand my boss a single bit...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

sugarcoated memories

I met a man, a foreigner to our shores. He had the most gorgeous pair of eyes anyone could wish for. In videos as he was filmed, those eyes were kind; and sad. In real-life, they bore testimony to a steel-hearted determination only seen in the most high caliber of people.

After meeting him, I felt upset for some time. In fact, I'm still upset. It takes a lot for me to really like someone and as of now, I'm still undecided. He isn't half bad; the ability I have to get people to really open up to me is a blessing and a curse. The second time we met, I could sense his undercurrent of unhappiness despite his powerful presence. I could sense that this country was only a temporary stop for him; and he told me so, more or less. He was hoping to ramp up the business here as fast as possible, and go back to the country where he had left a girl behind, the love of his life. Although he did not describe it in this way, I felt so when he referred to her as if she was in the present tense, and not the past. I could feel her right beside him, as if he had never had to leave. And the country in which he had spent 5 years, the country he referred to as 'not as civilised' as this country, where the people have never seen so many blue-eyed, white skinned, tall beings, where little kids point at him and call him 'godzilla' and he could never, would never be able to understand the language, that was the country in his heart.

And in his eyes I could see what he had left behind.

For a moment, triggered perhaps by my cheerful foreign language greeting, I caught a glimpse of that sad-eyed look I used to have, the haunting, vulnerable, young boy irrepressibly in love, replaced after a few seconds by a hard, almost calculating look. And I've always said that I like people to be honest with me; but perhaps honesty is not always the best policy. He referred to some of his staff as lackeys; saying with a knowing look that they thought highly of themselves but in reality they have a long way to go. He was hard on them and I thought a bit too mean. I dislike people who only have negative things to say about all their employees. Of course, he was just honest with me, too honest. Maybe he regretted saying too much after. In an instant I knew he only valued the people who could bring in the dollars and not see the hard work behind it, the hearts of the people like myself, who were also efficient, who were also performing, just that we were not in the role of the moneymakers. And I knew I would never be able to see eye-to-eye with him, as much as I pitied him in the glimpse of the young man in love I had seen in the reflection of his sad eyes.

And it makes me so upset that I'm almost tearful at the thought of being the girl who was left behind, by a young man who loved her but he had to choose to go, and leave a dream behind in the country that he loved, leaving behind the love. I don't want to be like her, waiting, wishing, for a dream that would never be realized - and then what happens next? I dearly hope that there will be a happy ending at the end of this story, but it's dreadful to think that life, as monotonous as it is, goes on, and every day in her soul, she whispers, I miss you.

I miss you so much.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

learning mandarin...

Last week, while standing in a queue, Moppet whipped out his phone, and proudly showed me a new app he downloaded.

'See, I'm learning Mandarin', he proclaimed. He showed me various phrases on the app.

I whipped out my phone too and showed him that I had previously downloaded a similar app. My app could string together common phrases and had a mechanical voice pronouncing it accurately. He gaped at me, quizzically asking me, why do I have a learn-Mandarin app?

I, irritated, told him that I had failed in this language since I was in primary school !!! He was stunned speechless for a few seconds, thinking of what to say, then recovered quickly, and said,

'We can learn it together!'

Only later did I realize what he was trying to impress upon me. (:

Sunday, June 05, 2011

the good, the bad and the nasty

Well, next week will make it 2 months into my new job. Already, I've had some key wins, unprecendented and unheard of in my firm - which propels me into the spotlight. Like it or not, I'm suddenly famous. I have calls from better firms trying to make me an offer; of which I am flattered. A couple of them seem sincere, and seem like something I would enjoy very much in the long term. One MD said that his door is open to me for the next 12 months; anytime I wanted to consider a change, just give him a call. That was very nice of him!

But bad things happen too, those you cannot possibly imagine. There are people trying to hypnotize me daily into doing things I don't want, and trying all means and ways to make me bend to their will. At first I looked at it amusedly, but now, it's no longer funny. On Friday I broke down, the accumulation of all that was nasty came bearing down on my little head. I just needed the peace of mind to do what I was good at and not be bothered with all the nuisances that seem to come with this firm. It was perhaps the first time that I wanted to throw in the towel or even had a faint glimmer of it, although I could foresee it coming, as others had kindly warned me. The rest of my team was unutterably kind, in ways I could have never expected. Although in a way we are supposed to be competitors, the way they helped me survive the day made it all better - the nasty things brought about the goodness in all of them.

I look forward to Moppet's daily calls. Yes, apart from the short emails, we talk daily for a short while, when we both can spare some time in between interviews and sales calls. Sometimes we miss each other on the phone but we will keep trying to call back during the day till we reach each other. I'm always happy to hear his voice, though he always tries to rile me up still and make me squeal in exasperation, he tells me about his hours, the things he did, and I find I can tell him about any little thing from the bruise on my finger to the small achievements and even frustrations and I've got a strange feeling that he would just understand. Isn't it strange that despite our different accents we can understand each other perfectly? Of course, the neurotic part of me, bruised by certain light of past events, asks myself if this could last, if he's really what he makes himself out to be - if we're going into 'friend-zone'... tiny nigglings of doubt that every woman encounters from time to time though we try to push it deep into the recesses of the small container at the back of the freezer compartment.

And after the nasty happened, Moppet made it all better by giving me sensible advice, told me about his previous similar experiences and said I could call him anytime - this made me feel so much better - I know he doesn't say that easily. I guess that's why I'm careful in choosing to share with people because at that low point of time I'd hate for some of my other friends to say 'Ya-they-are-like-that-one,what-to-do-lah'... thanks but no thanks! Later when I had recovered, he asked me how I was, and we had a vulnerable and sweet chat.

Lately, when there are funny things that happened in my daily encounters, for instance, Mom excitedly said to me she bought me 'London' chips!!! (I always rave about my Aussie Red Rock Deli chips) ... and showed me the pack, it said 'Scotland'... I said, hey Mom these are from Scotland... then she said emphatically, YA! Scotland is in London! - I can't even begin to describe how hilarious that is... I always try to store up, in my short-term memory, these funny incidents to relate it to Moppet, hoping that he will find it funny too, knowing that he would at least crack a smile at it (I think he is smiling more at my way of relating it more than anything else) ... lately I find myself having so many things that I've stored up in which I would want to chat with him about... mostly funny things, also some things to exasperate him (morbid fascination at making him riled up). I'm glad that when there was something nasty that happened- I don't feel so alone in the world. He has no idea how much he means to me.