Year End Reflection

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2018 has left me with trails of self-doubt.
When I reflect on my decisions this year, I wonder:
What have I been doing?
Have I achieved what I’ve been hoping to achieve?
Have I grown or am I still
Someone so dependent on others?

I’d like to think
That somewhere along the way
I’ve made proper plans for myself,
Charting a path that can lead to success.

It seems pessimistic but I feel
That I’ve nonetheless spent this year
Continuing to be cooped up in my cave
Living in my own little bubble
While the days fly past.

My inferiority complex has increased.
Reading job descriptions makes me uneasy.
Being Year 3 creates the added pressure
And it hits me that university is ultimately
A quest for employment,
Yet I feel vulnerably ill-equipped.

I’ve gotten more self-conscious of my flaws.
I’m aware of what I’m lacking.
How many times have I messed up?
While others have been stacking up work experience
And building their portfolio,
My time and efforts this year
Seem to have amounted to nothing.

It may be late,
But I’ve really gotten it planned out.
Next year will be better.
Next year I will know what I truly want
And focus on working towards it.

I’ll bravely take up challenges.
I’ll work smart.
I’ll take the initiative and contribute ideas.

There’s no time for self-degradation.
There’s no time to mope around.
2019 will be the year I proudly tell myself
“That’s right. You’ve done well.”

Waves of Loneliness

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I was honest when I said
I was feeling much better now.
But randomly
These waves of loneliness hit me
And it’s no longer just raining outside.

It’s been a week.
I shouldn’t be like this,
But I’m still troubled by it.

Something’s missing,
Something’s changed.

When the boundaries are built
And a new normal is formed,
Will things get better?

Why is it that I feel
Comforted one moment
Then saddened the next?

I don’t understand what I want.
I don’t understand how I feel.

Maybe putting my phone away
Will make me stop
Thinking,
Waiting,
Questioning.

Conflicted

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I’ve lied to myself for months,
Saying it was nothing.
It didn’t help that
I’ve always been misleading.

Can I say that that was selfish of you?
To throw the ball in my court like this –
Surely there could have been
A much better timing.

So do I just behave as normal?
What is really normal?

I know I shouldn’t let this bother me.
But I’ve gone back to this emotional phase
And I’m scared of this silence
(Who am I kidding, who’s the one avoiding)

I don’t know my feelings.
I’ve always been uncertain.

All I know is
I don’t want to be strangers.

Stuck

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I’ve been running from one dead end
To another.
Facts, stories, news articles…
Even with a change of topic
Or a tweak in angle,
I simply can’t find enough.

5 pages
1.5 spacing
One research question
It doesn’t sound like much
But I am absolutely stuck.

I’m digging for sources of information
But all I find are doors of pessimism.
Doom, darkness, desperation
Among the dirt I gasp for air,
But all I breathe in is despair.

20% is no small matter.

It’s only my first assignment this semester,
Yet the planning stage is already a disaster.

If only I had the power
To remove a deadline
From the face of the earth.
This frustration of mine
Is only getting worse.

Cracks

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I’ve been taking it too easy,
My brick wall’s walking all over me.
Red paint, darkness
Shadows, sunlight –
My stomach’s feeling queesy.

I’m falling through the cracks.
My inferiority complex’s kicking in.
Where is my logic,
Where’s my creativity?
The only depths of my thinking
Is my depleting energy.

Don’t get me started on negotiation
And my daily dive into the ocean
Of question marks, silence
And foolish incompetence.

It’s supposed to be summer,
But why are my skies grey?
I hike upwards to school
But my drive is tumbling downhill.

I should pick myself up
From this disappointing mess
And be more focused
Instead of being tired all the time.
But a merciless timetable,
A lack of sleep
And a lack of time for revision
Drain me everyday.

Will today be the day
I find my grip
In this quicksand?

I really need to adjust
Before this month
Comes to an end.

I Should Be Studying

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I should be studying,
But what is this heat?
Temperature rises,
Tempers fly.

I should be studying.
I do try,
But reading aloud
Makes my throat dry.

Oh I should be studying
And absorbing content,
Not singing along
To my new favourite song.

What is this sorcery?
I may be unproductive
But somehow my energy
Is rapidly depleting…

Hi brain, are you listening?
Please keep that content in.

Yes I should be studying.
Now excuse me.

Silver Laces

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Silver laces leaning against
A slightly crooked wall,
Silver nails being drilled
Into this aching jaw.

I wake up feeling like
I got punched in the face.
My food gets stuck
Three times a day.
I sleep early because
Yawning is a pain.

In a few more weeks
I suppose I’ll get used to
Embracing this new identity.

(Argh, that bad pun
Just made my cheek hurt.)

Don’t

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Don’t question me please,
They hit me to the core.
If I can’t answer please
Don’t think of me as a bore.

I wish I could get a hold of myself
And know what I really want
Even if I smile and laugh it off
I know,
I’m a lost sheep
Because of my own decisions.

Again and again
There’s a nagging feeling in my head
That I strayed from a perfect plan,
That everything’s a mistake.

I guess I always knew what was right
But the cowardly me chose the option of flight.

I guess I would always remain
As a piece of driftwood
Floating in a river
Of my own tormented mind.

The web is broken,
The past is frozen.

After the storm, will the skies be clear again?
After the storm, the spider weaves her web again.

A Winter Getaway to Greece

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If you’re heading to Europe for a winter getaway, why not stop by to visit Greece for a few days? While Greece may not be a popular destination in winter, you get to enjoy its rich history without the chaotic summer tourist crowd. (Who needs the summer heat when you live in Singapore anyway?) Having a Mediterranean climate, the weather feels just right, cold but not to the extent of freezing. Moreover, since it is considered the off-peak season, there is a 50% discount for all attractions in Greece.

Where to Go

  1. Athens
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View from the Acropolis of Athens, featuring the Temple of Zeus

A definite must-go is the Acropolis of Athens and Parthenon. Tickets are priced at 10 Euros in winter to enter the Acropolis alone, and 15 Euros to buy a 5-day package to visit various attractions around Athens.

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View from the Acropolis of Athens

To get around Athens, you could use the Metro, or ride on the open top hop-in hop-out tour buses that go to different areas in the city. One baffling thing to note is that you are not allowed to take photos inside Metro stations, even though it isn’t explicitly stated on signs. Nevertheless, the Metro is a cheap option to travel around Athens, with a 90 minute ticket priced at 1.80 Euros.

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Monastiraki, Athens

Good places to buy souvenirs are Plaka (near the Acropolis) and Monastiraki. In Monastiraki, visit the Athens Flea Market located next to the Metro station.

  1. Santorini
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Oia, Santorini

If there is only one place you can visit in Greece, let that be Santorini. This picturesque island is the best place to take stunning photos. To go there, you can either take a plane from Athens International Airport or a ferry from Piraeus Port in Athens. The former is a much shorter journey (around 45 minutes) and saves you time to explore Santorini more. In winter, you get the chance to see the real Santorini without its usual summer crowd lining the walkways and beaches photobombing you. Even half of the locals take the chance to travel during this off-peak season. It is quiet and quite empty, allowing you to have a nice stroll around the towns. It is the perfect place to go if you want to get out of a busy city.

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Oia, Santorini

When staying in Santorini, it is better to choose a hotel in Fira (aka Thira), the capital. (I personally recommend staying at Pelican Hotel due to its location and extremely friendly staff.) There are many shops open in Fira compared to other towns. Although Oia is the town with the most Instagramable scenery, especially its famous sunset, most restaurants (and public toilets) are closed in winter. Instead, you can easily take a bus from Fira to Oia for just 1.80 Euros. The bus ride takes around 20 minutes, though the bus operates with a fixed schedule of an interval of about 1.5 hours. Alternately, you can rent a car.

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Sunset at Oia, Santorini

Whether or not you get to see the sunset depends on the weather. I visited Oia twice, and it was sunny on the first day but cloudy on the second. It is also important that you do not choose a hotel that is too far from the main roads as Santorini has cobbled streets which are quite uncomfortable for walking, and very inconvenient for pulling your luggage.

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Donkeys at Fira, Santorini

In summer, tourists get to ride donkeys around Santorini, but that isn’t the case for winter. Instead, these huge Greek donkeys at hard at work carrying sandbags for renovation.

  1. Meteora

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If you have some extra time, you could take a local tour to Meteora from Athens, where you get a spectacular view of 11th century monasteries on the rock towers, and visit one or two of them.

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What to Eat

  1. Gyros

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Gyros is a type of Greek fast food that is affordable and filling. It has grilled meat, tomatoes, lettuce, french fries and onions wrapped in pita bread. At Fira, Santorini, gyros can be as cheap as only 2.50 Euros for pork, and 2.60 Euros for chicken. It’s so good, you’ll have dogs following you around if you eat it away from the stall.

  1. Grilled Fish
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Kokkinos Krinos: Odisseos 6, Athens 104 37, Greece

My first thought was that the dish was going to be an overpriced grilled dory since the menu did not elaborate about having side dishes or specify the type of fish. However, it was actually a whole big fish, served with broccoli and french fries.

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Perissa Beach, Santorini

Greece is ultimately best explored in winter when it’s off-peak season. In summer, Santorini and tourist attractions in Athens would be stuffily swarmed with people, and you would not be able to take the beautiful photos you desire. In short, it would be a nightmare. If you plan to travel to different countries in Europe and can only stay in Greece for a few days, the Acropolis of Athens and Santorini are the places you should definitely visit. Most importantly, make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes!

Photos owned by Gwenice Gwee

Anthem for the Insecure

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This is the anthem for
All the insecure,
All the little ones
Running round and round
Spinning in circles,
When will we be found?

Oh I’ve been dabbing a little
In this and that,
But I still haven’t found
Just what I’m best at.

I know I’m a mess,
I’m a pile of distress
Hanging on a thread
With my mind slipping off the edge.
I cut off the vines
Connecting me from the rest
I know I’ve given up
I admit it, I’ve been weak.

This is the anthem for
All the insecure,
Spread your little wings
And make them soar.
Forget about the past,
You can’t change a thing
Focus on the present
You gotta make it last.

People say things
But what do they know?
There are some things
Only we can show.

Maybe we don’t have a talent,
Maybe we don’t shine,
But that doesn’t mean
We gotta weep or whine.

This is the anthem for
All the insecure,
There’s something special
In every one of us
You just need a little trust.

They think we’re not successful
Maybe we’re not right now
We might be slow but we’re not flightless
Time will tell.

I’m standing in a pile of dust
Of the past I’ve torn
And it’s hard to piece them
Back together.
But one day I will make
Something even better
And when that comes
Will the past even matter?

This is the anthem for
All the insecure,
Spread your little wings
And make them soar.
Forget about the past,
You can’t change a thing
Focus on the present
You gotta make it last.