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:
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!
I hope that the next time I blog, I’d have some updates about the progress I’ve made on my thesis. Amin.
If I had spent the Sunday last week largely indoors (due to the rain), solo-shopping and hanging out at Coex, this Sunday’s was the total opposite. I spent it outdoors having a picnic at the Han River with two visiting Singaporeans!
I really love being able to be out in the sun again like this. I always feel that being outdoors does wonders to yourself. Always after being outdoors, I feel so energized!
I’ve never had a picnic by the river for obvious reasons like how Singapore does not have a river where you can do that (and no, Singapore River doesn’t count cos that water body is dotted with development along its sides so no one ever does a picnic there!). So this was my first time and I really loved it a lot. The fact that the skies were cloudy and weather windy makes the atmosphere just apt for a picnic!
To make it fuss-free, I had arranged to have food delivered to the Han River. I turned to the ever reliable ‘Halal Kitchen‘ to order my food. Hassan (the Muslim Korean who owns the shop) is a friend of one of my Thai classmates and it is through the latter that I got to know about this shop. Orders are delivered on time and food’s pretty decent too! I find myself having a growing liking for Japchae Rice ever since I first started ordering from the shop and like any food which I like and will eat repeatedly, I ordered this yet again (oh surprise surprise!) for the picnic. Meantime, the two friends who were with me ordered Dakgalbi Rice. As something to munch on, we ordered some Spicy Fried Chicken Balls as an add on.
As we strolled by the Han River after the picnic, I’m made to realize just how much rain Korea have been receiving these past three to four weeks. I don’t realize it since I’m mostly confined to the mountains where my campus is but looking at some of the trees that were almost fully submerged by the river water which had risen, I’m made aware that we really have been receiving lots of rain! Thank goodness Korea has a good drainage system and its land have a lot of water storage capacity otherwise it’d have flooded!
We stumbled upon some people from YTN News. Not too sure what they are reporting but it’s cool to see the news people at work nonetheless. Once upon a time back in my growing up years, one of the ambition I had was to be a news journalist! The other two ambitions on my list were to be a teacher or a lawyer. But I had to choose one because each of the career aspirations I had needs me to pursue a specific professional knowledge path. Alhamdulillah, I chose teaching but I still wondered sometimes where I would be now had I chosen to pursue being a lawyer or news journalist.
We made our way to Garosugil which is like one of my most favourite places in Seoul. Garosugil is replete with materialism from its focus on looks (tons of plastic surgery clinics and hospitals. Yes, HOSPITALS for plastic surgery) to fashion. Basically, the place is just reeking with money and consumerist culture.
Despite that, Garosugil has a lively vibe about it which greets you as soon as you walk down its street. It is this vibe that makes Garosugil one of my most favourite places in Seoul and admittedly, one which I will superbly miss once I’m back in Singapore for good.
Anyway, I wanted to share that I always stumble upon something new when I’m at Garosugil. The ‘something new’ takes the following form this time:
For reasons unbeknown to my small and unread mind in the aspect of plastic surgery, seems like there is a market for vaginal surgery. My ever curious self would like to know what this is and why people have to do it and hence I’m ever ready to google for it.
But I also know that the internet BEING the internet, I’d probably be thrown unwanted images of the female private parts as well even though I did not request for it (the typical Singaporean reaction in me is actually going “So sueh leh pagi2 buta nampak gambar gini!”). So erm, until I could psychologically overcome that, I’ll hold off my curiosity for now!
Compared to last week, the past few days have seen more activity in my life ever since summer semester started. I started the week making a resolve to fill my time with more activities because I really cannot stand having a lack of things to do.
So I’ve taken a long walk from my department to the Central Library to return some books I borrowed. In the process, I took a new path I’ve never taken before. The path cuts through a bit of the mountains and a small part of the forested area but masyaAllah once I was out of that area, I found myself at a very beautiful part of campus I’ve never been before. All these while, I’ve avoided that path because it seems deserted and honestly, I do not know where it would lead me. However I was with a friend at that time and she was pretty keen to accompany me for that walk even though she herself hasn’t gone through the route. Reminders for me:
- Never be afraid to venture down a different path cos you never know what gems it could lead you too
- Having someone with you when doing something new gives you strength to pursue it so I should be the same to others if they’re in the same situation
I’ve also attempted to settle a few administrative issues related to the upcoming Fall semester. In addition, the course listings for the new semester are already up! I pray that I’m able to get the last few courses I needed to clear (and also complete researching and writing my thesis!) so that I can graduate by the end of the Fall semester insyaAllah.
Besides school, I’ve also tried to get away from campus for a few hours. I did nothing fancy like travelling but yeah, it was something much needed to rejuvenate myself from constantly being part of school. Staying on campus definitely has its perks but the fact that you’re constantly in a school environment 24/7 can feel taxing so yes, I felt that I needed to get away for a few hours.
I went off to Itaewon on one of the days to treat myself to a Korean lunch! That’s the first Korean meal I had in months (the irony since I’m living in Korea!. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t that great which was a surprise to me cos I’ve always liked the food at this shop those few times I went there to get my Korean fix.
On another day, I scooted off to Coex with no intention other than to just window shop and check out the much-raved about library.
Pretty cool design. It’s an open concept library so don’t expect to keep silent at that place. It’s noisy – you can hear the background music coming from the mall speakers, shoppers talking and many more. In a nutshell, it isn’t your typical library!
Although I had no intentions to shop, I ended up getting myself a set of swimming wear. I do not swim and neither do I know how to swim but after this spur of the moment buy, I actually now feel like signing myself up for swimming classes when I’m back in Singapore!
That aside, it only just hit me that Korea is a great place for Muslimahs to purchase a nice set of pretty swimming costume. The shops stock numerous long pants and long-sleeved swim wear in various designs. The Koreans are very wary of exposing their skin to the sun whenever they’re engaged in water activities during summer (very popular during the warm season!) and hence the demand and readily-available stock of such swim attire in the shops.
Lastly, although it’s summer, it’s also the monsoon season in Korea. It’s been raining more days than it is sunny. However when it’s sunny, it’s trulyyy warm.
My first experience of a rainy, monsoonal East Asian summer. Something old since I’ve experienced monsoon seasons back home too but there also seems to be something different about the monsoon season here.