Rays of Splendour


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Summer of procrastination (on thesis)

At the time of blogging this, I’m finally officially having a summer break. Yessah!

I was tempted to spend the summer exploring more of the provinces of Korea. I figured a month would be more than enough to slowly travel and experience the different provinces. However, I had errands and matters to attend to back home and hence off to Singapore I went!

So I’ve been back in Singapore for about 2 weeks now. It has been a busy two weeks spent settling things, trying to catch up with people here and also, just to rest.

In between, I caught a flu bug that has been making its rounds among the people here and I’ve been trying to drive away the runny nose, scratchy throat and dry cough since last week. I’m heaps better at the time of writing this but yeah, my lungs still feel irritated at times. The air in this western part of Singapore I’m staying at is really polluted that it has triggered my asthma thus prompting me to use the inhaler EVERY SINGLE DAY since I got back. I probably need to get myself some new supply of the inhalers soon cos the current ones are almost empty.

Health-issues aside, I’ve been telling myself every single day to get my ass working on the thesis. Honestly every time I open my laptop, I have all intentions to start on my research or email some people who would be helpful in allowing me to get access to some data. But the reality does not pan out that way for every time I’m on my laptop, I will find a million and one other things to occupy myself with which has no relation to my thesis such as the following:

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j88hbs

Instead of working on the thesis, I’m spending time googling for memes related to it and laughing my heads off at some of the funny captions. Some of these memes are so funny I.just.can’t!

#queenofprocrastination

I hope that the next time I blog, I’d have some updates about the progress I’ve made on my thesis. Amin.


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Halfway through with summer school

Done with 2 weeks of the summer semester alhamdulillah! 2 more weeks to go before the semester ends!

This is the first time ever that I’ve taken an inter-semester session. I’ve never taken any back in my undergrad days and neither have I taken it during the previous few semesters of post-grad school.

So I never knew just how much motivation it would take for me to psych myself to get to classes even. Seriously, I’ve been lateĀ  for practically EVERY lesson these two weeks and it’s only because I took such a long time to convince myself to get out of the house and go to class. I’ve been approaching the TA during breaks to inform him that I’m there and to mark my attendance that I think he’s probably super annoyed at me by now.

Anyway, all I want to do for now is just take a break after the 4 grueling months of spring semester. I get exhausted simply running through my mind the schedule, deadlines and number of meetings with professors to acquire their signatures to settle various administrative issues during the spring semester. When it finally ended with the submission of my last assignment, all I wanted to do was take a break.

So these past 2 weeks of school had naturally been one whereby my mind seems to be out of place. On the one hand, I’m physically there in class and alhamdulillah, 90% mentally there too as I listened to the lectures and tried to absorb the knowledge disseminated. However at the same time, I feel another part of myself just itching to be elsewhere but in class and doing the assignments.

So the rest of the time, my mind and body have been thinking and desiring so much to go on holiday. I do not know where for now but yes, I just want to goooooo somewhere and explore new things.

I feel pretty much stifled and unmotivated after being so dormant like this. In fact, I’m so stifled and unmotivated that I actually do not have much appetite even. Nothing seems to whet my appetite so I’ve been eating things like bread with butter or simply noodles with veggies for my meals.

I look forward to going back to Singapore for a proper break but ironically, I also know that I’ll probably be bored and be even MORE unmotivated because I’ll be spending my days largely alone as my family and friends would probably be busy working.

I sound so cranky right now and all because I’m just emotionally and mentally exhausted.

I need a break, badly.


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Of parents’ birthdays and other random updates

Lying in bed in the dark while blogging on the WordPress app. This is the first time that I’m using the app!

Figured I’d just quickly jot down some moments that occurred in the past few days for the record.

Celebrated the parents’ birthdays

The parents’ birthdays are only 4 days apart from each other. As they gained an extra year in their ages, I’m reminded that my time with them could be getting shorter.

Unlike during times when I was much younger, these days I began to comprehend more the sacrifices and love they have for me. I saw how the parents are very giving towards my siblings and I, how they are always our biggest supporters in whatever that we do and how they never fail to continuously make duas for us to be granted with nothing but the best.

They have such unconditional love for us. I feel it in not just the way they always go the extra mile for us but also in the way that I never felt as though my presence was not wanted.

Everytime I’m with the parents, I felt it in me that our presence are such a blessing to their lives.

For all the goodness they’ve shown my siblings and I, I pray that Allah grants them abundance both in this world and the Hereafter. I pray too that Allah forgives any of their sins and places them in Paradise, amin.

Korean language class

This week, I received news that I am being offered a place to learn Korean at the language institute on campus. Alhamdulillah!

It’s a ten weeks programme. Currently, I’m supposed to start attending lessons this March daily from Mondays to Fridays from 6.30pm to about 9.10pm. I also have the option to change the lesson start time to summer which is in June and attend the morning 9am lesson instead.

So now, I’m in a dilemma whether to postpone the start times or not. If I were to continue with the March start time, it means that I will be going back home from school late everyday. Plus, I will be juggling that with the other courses in the day.

If I were to start in June, it would mean that I would not be going back home to Singapore for the summer vacation. That means: After flying to Seoul next week, I’ll only be back in Singapore in December. I’ll literally be gone for the next 10 months!

Not too sure what I’ll do. Regardless, praying for Allah to help guide me to the suitable choice.

Heartache

That’s “ache” in a literal sense.

Not too sure why but the heart has been feeling a tad bit odd these past few weeks. Even as I’m blogging this, I felt a slight tug at some vein near the heart area just mere moments ago.

Also, I do not know whether there is a co-relation but past few weeks too, there have been some moments when my world just seemed to momentarily spin. It will spin for a few seconds. The feeling’s as though I’m losing my balance. Like I will fall on the ground. It’ll last only a few seconds though.

Hmmm. Hoping it’s nothing and just my imagination!

I’ll be living alone in Seoul yet again. Gonna be doing everything alone and it’s gonna be back to times where I have to rely on only myself to survive the days. So yep, praying that my body continues being healthy insyaAllah.

Just a few days ago I was feeling worried when I read news of someone who passed away suddenly. That compelled me to send a panicked WhatsApp text to both my bffs to tell them to start wondering if they don’t hear any replies from me for more than 3 days. Though seriously, who they have to contact to check if I’m allright is beyond me. I really do not have anyone in Seoul whom the people in Singapore can contact to check on me.

Okay. Hand’s getting cramped from typing this blog entry on my mobile phone. Gonna stop now. It’s pretty convenient to be using this WordPress app though!


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Of daily life and school

After almost a week of not updating this blog, so what’s new with me?

Basically, nothing much. Life seemed to have settled itself into a routine for me. There are both good and bad in that, I feel.

It’s good because my days are pretty much predictable. I kind of have an idea of where I would most likely be and what I would be doing at a specific time in the week. For instance, Wednesday afternoons are for school so its mornings will be spent at home either reading or catching up on sleep if I had turned in late the night before. On weekends, I would typically spend one of the days staying in and the other going out because I felt like I needed the stimulation from it. So yes, my schedule is largely predictable and that instills certain order in my life.

The downside to this predictability is that I get too comfortable with it to a point that it feels like my mind (and self) isn’t getting enough stimulation from changes in order to feel inspired. I’ve been so uninspired that I think if someone were to present me with an exciting proposition now, my response would most likely be simply “Oh. I see.”.

Yet overall, I’m appreciating very, very, very much the lessons I gleaned from my classes and this applies to even the Economics class I’m sitting for.

Economics. I never knew this subject could be complex so imagine my surprise when I realized that some of its concepts can be pretty complicated! Regardless, the subject has really forced me to exercise that part of my brain which I suppose I’ve hardly ever used. It took a lot of reading, re-reading and visualising before I can grasp the logic behind the concepts being propounded. It almost felt like I was doing A-level Physics all over again. I wasn’t that good at seeing the logic behind the Physics concept back then and now, I’m working with this logic thing all over again.

I’m telling myself to remain opened to the whole experience though and to be positive. Afterall, what’s the point of learning if you only want to learn something that you’re familiar with? Learning is all about embracing not just the familiar but to also confront knowledge that is beyond your comfort zone. That’s when true learning occurs.


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Moving day & first day of school

I woke up this morning feeling pretty much excited at the prospect of finally being able to move in to my new place in Seoul. The thought that I will have a place which is a home away from home, one where I can feel safe and head to once I’m done with all that I needed to do for the day… Yes, that made me look forward to today very, very much.

However before I could officially move into my house, I had to do something else which was even more exciting: attend the first lesson for the fall semester!

I know that I border on sounding very nerdy or geeky but truly, I was excited at being able to go to school again. As the campus shuttle bus that I boarded at the subway station inched closer to school and I saw the outlines of the mountains that surrounded it, I felt tingles of excitement running down my spine. The thought of sitting in the classroom, absorbing the years of knowledge accumulated by the professors and then learning more about the world simply engages all my senses. The more I learn, the more I realized I do not know and that drives me to seek even more knowledge than before.

Despite being excited for school, I was also late for it. Hahah. When I was eventually in class, I was greeted with a surprise: two of my classmates for the Friday module are Singaporeans. Like finally, I’m seeing a fellow Singaporean on campus and in the same module as me!

So anyway, school ended by about 12.15pm and I proceeded to settle the next agenda: moving in. I have been busy wiping the surfaces (the apartment is already clean when I got it but I’m just an OCD like that. I need to still give the surfaces a wipe before I place my belongings on them) of the shelves and tabletops and unpacking all my stuff and arranging them neatly on the shelves or storing them into the drawers and wardrobe. Currently, my apartment is pretty much set up.

Some photos of my new place. It’s truly small but alhamdulillah, I find the place cosy to stay in and the location is great. It’s just a 3 minutes walk from the subway station, about 5 minutes walk to the campus shuttle bus stop, and there are lots of shops and even a traditional Korean market nearby. Other perks about the apartment: the utility bills (except for winter when we have to use the gas for the heating) are inclusive in the rent.

20160902_134306The living room and kitchen that greeted me whenever I enter the house. I love the generous shelf space provided in the apartment. Another plus point: the television! I don’t watch TV but this time, I have been keeping it switched on to provide some background noise.

20160902_134315The other part of the living space. Pretty cool that the owner provided a lot of amenities like the microwave over, iron, hair dryer, vacuum cleaner and even pots, cups, knives, etc.

20160902_134346Overview of the living area from the loft bed.

20160902_134325 See that space up there above the kitchen cabinets? That’s where the mattress for sleeping is placed. The mattress is the size of a king-sized bed so it’s truly perfect for times when my brother or the bffs come to Seoul and opt to bunk in with me during the duration of their stay here.

I still have more stuff coming in from my friend’s place tomorrow though. 7 boxes of stuff. How did I ever manage to accumulate all those things?!? I really hope I have enough space to store them all. Additionally, I’m also seriously considering the prospect of posting back home some of my things in those boxes.

I’m thinking of going simple and keeping things as minimal as possible by owning and using only what I need in this new apartment.

Let’s hope I can do that! Although at the time of blogging this, my eyes chanced upon the big shoe cabinet right in my field of vision and the thought that it’d be perfect for me to store some winter boots just fleeted through my mind…..

Oh gosh. I need to cancel that thought quickly.

So erm, that big empty shoe cabinet? It totally doesn’t need to be filled with winter boots. Like so, so, totally and absolutely not!


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Exploring the school campus

For the past two days, I have somehow found myself in situations where I was led to explore more of the school campus.

Mostly, it was because I had either gotten myself into the wrong classroom, or the buses I took led me to places I never intended to go when I boarded it. In the latter, blame it on my lousy Korean. I am still unable to understand a lot of Korean words which made it difficult for me to tell when the bus that comes will be making a different route from the one I usually take.

So besides the need to be able to converse with the ahjumma (aunties) here, being able to dexterously navigate myself around motivates me to be more disciplined in learning Korean. And yes, I seemed to have graduated from having aunties speaking to me in supermarkets to them striking a conversation with me as I walk along the streets, or offering to help carry my things and even giving me compliments! This situation is extremely baffling. Since when have I become an auntie magnet? Hilarious!

Back to the topic of exploring the campus. One good thing out of getting lost or taking the wrong buses is that I now know where the post office (yay! I can start posting stuff soon!), banks, bookshop (went crazy over notebooks and bought a pen that I did not need), souvenir shop (planning to get myself one of the school’s varsity jackets) and health centre is on campus. I also now know where the student dormitories are located (it’s so near school! I need to get myself one of those!).

Getting lost and then having to walk all the way to the bus stop also had another merit. I stumbled upon a river that is located on campus! I did not know that the river existed so I actually did a double take as I thought I had perceived incorrectly. I’m so excited over this discovery because hey, anything related to natural formation and natural features just thrills me. As they say, you can never take the Geography out of the Geographer!

20160309_134656_hdr.jpgThe river runs a course through the mountains ahead.

Having a campus located right smack in the highlands meant that the temperatures are especially colder there than at other places. I found myself literally freezing whenever I’m in the campus. It’s so cold that I could hardly feel the sensation in my hands when I use the mobile phone to text. No kidding. It’s that cold!

Despite the intense development around the area, the place is still rich in nature. I was walking to the bus stop last Monday evening when I heard a cacophony of chirping from the grass patch ahead. Back in Singapore, it’s common to see birds like the sparrow, pigeon or crow in public spaces. But here, I was amazed to see this particular bird (see below). Perhaps it’s just the foreigner experience but yeah, I found this sight to be such a novelty that I stopped to take a few snaps which invited some puzzled looks from the passersby!

20160308_164121_hdr.jpgWhat’s this bird called? Regardless, it’s pretty!

So week 2 saw me exploring more of the campus. The school week is done for me for now. Regardless, I’m looking forward to knowing more of the places on campus in the weeks ahead. For now, the place is all brown and the trees are all bare. I wonder how it will look like once it’s spring which will dawn on us in about three weeks time, insyaAllah.