Thursday, December 31, 2009

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

For the first time in about five years I am going to be spending New Year's Eve at home. I have absolutely no plans whatsoever, and I plan on sitting up and watching re-runs of my favourite cartoon show and eating ice-cream all evening. Then I am possibly going to get dragged out to watch fireworks at night. I suppose this is not what most 22 year olds are supposed to enjoy doing, but what could possibly be a better way to start the year? I am surprisingly looking forward to this plan muchly.

As mentioned before, I have never been too fond of the arrival of another new year because I always feel the pressure to do better than I did in the previous year. Also, as you get older I have found that this gets harder to do. However, I do think I will survive for another year, maybe with a little bit (or a lot of) of whining ahead.

I hope everyone else has managed to do something substantial this year; I would like to think that I have! I do know a lot more than I knew at this exact time last year, and that sufficiently satisfies me. I have never been good with resolutions, so I am going to steer clear of them. World peace can wait for a couple of more years, for now. I don't have any agenda for the year; I am going to try to worry less about things and see how that works out for me. From my relatively brief life experience I have learned that things mostly work out for the best at the end of it all.

I am going to approach the new year with high spirits (the exams I have next week can be damned) and I hope that the year goes well for everyone else as well.

And now, bring on the ice-cream!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The first noël, the angels did sing...

Milan under snowfall

Its Christmas and my favourite time of the year, which is weird because I have never once celebrated Christmas in my entire life; being a good, little convent educated school girl that I am, I can't help love this season as much as I do. I am one of those people that everyone gets sick of because I start listening to Christmas music since early December and have an embarrassing amount of it on my iTunes. This is my first Christmas away from Milan. I have completely missed the snow storm over Europe last week and I can't help but be a bit sad about this because snow in Milan is quite rare. I really love it when it snows, the city seems so beautiful even if it does mean suspension of all means of transportation within the city and mushy sludge all over the roads, in addition to the freezing temperatures. However, I shouldn't really be discussing the weather because it has been 25°C in the place where I spent most of of time last week and I am now sporting an awful tan.

I haven't been away for a vacation with my family for almost two years now, so I have been looking forward to the mini-trip we had around South East Asia last week. I just got back to Hong Kong this morning actually. Travelling with my parents is one of those things that is exhaustive and so much fun at the same time, and I am in much need of sleep. I will write more about the trip later on, but for now I just wanted to wish everyone happy holidays and a merry christmas!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

As we go on, we remember, all the times we had together...

Last weekend was my graduation ceremony. I was really not looking forward to it because university graduation is one of those days that you just have to spend with your family, and mine currently lives a continent away and could obviously not make it. So, I was all whiny about it for the last month and was generally not looking forward to it, but it ended up being such a great day and I had a good time. This is because my friends are the coolest people in the world who not only sat through the boring ceremony, but also spent the rest of the day hanging out with me. I really just don't deserve to have such awesome people in my life, and I should be nicer to them!

Talking about my family, I am seeing them next week! I can't wait to see them and get back to Hong Kong again. I haven't seen them for three whole months, and I know this isn't a big deal to most people, but I have always been a clingy person who is overly attached to her mum and dad. I blame it on the fact that I am an only child and HK is generally very awesome. This also means that I have to pack this weekend and have so much to do that the best thing for me to do right now is to just avoid thinking about it. Avoidance is the best solution to your problems! Please, do not take my advice, as you can see, I am awful at it!

I am also very excited because I am probably going on a family vacation to Vietnam and Cambodia sometime over Christmas. There shall be more information on this when my dates and tickets are fixed, but traveling in South East Asia has been like a dream for me ever since I was thirteen and read The Beach (yes, go ahead and make fun of me, I am beyond all caring because I know how pathetic my teenage taste in most things was).

But I shall not think about vacations and fun for now! I have a week before I leave and too much to finish in this short period. I am full till the brim with work and my week consists of me traveling back and forth from uni. If I am feel particularly adventurous and hungry, I might venture into the supermarket, but this has been the extent of my travel for the last couple of weeks. In addition to this, the highlight of my week, which was my Korean drama series, has come to an end, and now I literally have nothing in life to look forward to. There, that is a paragraph of Pan whining, since I haven't been doing it for a while on here now!

I have been listening to 80's music all day long and have spent the day making an epic, generally awesome playlist on my itunes. This has also been my only accomplishment for the day, apart from realizing that I know the lyrics to Total Eclipse of the Heart creepily accurately without even consciously ever trying to memorize them.

I love how this post has deteriorated to a random collection of paragraphs with absolutely no link between them, but it is almost half past one at night and its been a long day, so I am unable to be coherent.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Student life

You know what I hate about being a student? No, its not the perpetual poverty, although that is also pretty bad; its the fact that your day never truly ends. When you work, however awful your job is and however long your hours are, you can be sure that once you get home, you don't have to think about it any more until well, the next day. The problem with being a student is that I have a ten hour day at uni filled with all kinds of stressful things, and then I have to come home and actually study or finish my projects. The day doesn't officially ever end because you constantly have to be thinking about your lectures, projects, etc.

That said, student life has all kinds of perks! I am lucky enough to have at least two more years till I graduate and I suppose, I should really make the best of it, right? And I know I complain about uni all the time, but to be honest, I really do love student life. I figured I haven't done one of my trademarked lists in a while, and as I always like to say, one can never have enough lists in life, so here it goes: I like being a student because:
  1. I can go out on a weekday and come back home at four in the morning because I have afternoon lectures the next day that can always be skipped if my headache is particularly bad.
  2. I can go out on a weekday, come back home at four in the morning, still end up going to a 9 a.m lecture, and actually manage to follow most of it.
  3. I get a discounted price for most museum trips.
  4. I also get a heavily discounted public transport pass.
  5. I can go to the gym at completely odd afternoon/morning hours to find it absolutely empty, at my disposal and pretend that its my private gym.
  6. I get almost three weeks off for Christmas, one for Easter and two months worth of summer holidays. Its worth going to uni and working hard just to enjoy your vacation time!
  7. I can have lunch/dinner standing up at some shady street stall without getting odd looks from people because you can't expect any better behaviour from students, can you?
  8. I can efficiently multitask, i.e work on two different assignments, chat with three different people, while talking on the phone with my mum.
  9. I can fly with Qatar Airlines, FinnAir and Aeroflot half way across the world without being embarrassed or laughed at.
  10. I can have meaningful and un-ironic discussions about Pokemon, the Flintsones, politics, America, Ralph Fiennes, stock market crash, Britney Spears and the Lisbon Treaty with the same set of people.
  11. And one more because we all know how great prime numbers are: I love being a student because I am awesome at talking knowledgeably about things I have no idea about. This, my dear friends, is an art that can be mastered only once you have attended university.

Friday, November 13, 2009

And she was...

I know, I know, its been a while, but fear not, your beloved narrator is not going to give up on her blog so easily. I have just been really busy this semester with uni. Grad school is such a torture, and I would whine so much more about it if I did not actually enjoy most of what I am currently doing. But it does keep me crazily busy, and I don't think I have ever been this busy in my entire life. I have always been a one-day-at-a-time kind of person, but right now I am literally living from one project deadline to the other, and for some strange reason, I don't seem to mind.

I can't believe its almost mid November already, and that the year is almost over. Guangzhou and China seem like a world away even if I was there just a couple of months ago. To be quite honest, I love China and had such a great time this summer, even if I was cooped up in an office looking at Chinese tax regulations for most part. I know its hard for most people, but I have always found it easy to adapt to new people/places/food etc. because I am a ridiculously easy person to please. I know, a lot of my friends will laugh at me for saying this, but its actually true. Give me a laptop with an internet connection and a bed, and I am pretty much satisfied wherever I am.

I am also living alone this year, which is really great. I have the tiniest flat in the world in the middle of the city, and I love it so much even though it is a perpetual mess. I try and be as neat and tidy as my mum but somehow I just can't manage to keep it half as nice as my mum used to keep our home while battling an annoying teenager, an unhelpful husband and a job with long hours. One day, I promise to reach that level of efficiency, but for now I am happy being my lazy self and lounging in bed all evening.

By the way, if anyone is wondering why Pan is being pathetic and making blog posts on a Friday night, its because I have sprained my ankle in the most painful manner while coming home from uni this evening. So all I can do is lie down still in bed and limp painfully around the house. My dinner consists of cereal and an apple, and I am taking the evening off to catch up with my favourite television show. Life is pretty much good for now, I think! But its Friday and after the week I have had, there is absolutely nothing (not even my life threatening foot injury) that can bring my mood down right now, so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

You make me sick

Has anyone ever had one of those weekends where you need a day off just to relax and get over your weekend? I just had one of those, and it didn't even involve hard partying, drugs, alcohol and all the things people do these days during their time off, no; it was because I have the most awful sore throat and cold. I don't know why it seemed like a good idea to go out for a day trip even with my illness yesterday.

The problem with living in tropical climates is that even the most tedious of activities require double the effort because of the sweltering temperatures. I'd totally be able to handle the heat, you know. Its the humidity that just drives me crazy, and I'm not just being biased against humidity because of my permanently damaged hair. There are days when by the time I leave my apartment and reach the front of my building, I'm already sweating and the whole point of having a shower before leaving home is kind of useless.

Also, I have learnt that being out all day long in the heat when you have the most awful cold in the world is a really bad idea, not only for you, but also for other people around you. This morning when I woke up, I was pretty much unable to breathe because of my blocked sinuses and my voice sounded that of a 60 year old man, and I think at this stage there was nothing left to do but call my boss and ask for a day off. So I find myself on a Monday morning at 10.00 am in bed, sipping tea, with music blaring loudly on my itunes and lying next to a pile of dirty tissues. This would actually be my ideal Monday morning (sans the tissues and coughing, of course) if I wasn't so ill. This how I should have spent yesterday instead of going on that stupid day trip, but the little tourist in me couldn't have missed out a day of Chinese palaces.

I should probably get up, have a shower, get out of my pyjamas, clean up the mess in my room, have hot soup in the restaurant downstairs for lunch, and buy medicine for my cold; but all these things involve me getting out of bed and everyone knows what an effort this is for your dear narrator.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The one where Pan has swallowed a gallon of coffee

Its 2.30 a.m. in the morning and I have to wake up at 7 tomorrow for work. So one might ask why your lovely narrator is up at such an ungodly hour writing blog posts instead of being in bed in deep slumber. I think this should be a lesson to anyone who thinks drinking vats full of coffee with infinite spoons of sugar at 4 in the evening is a good idea. I have been trying to sleep since 11.30 and have finally given up after getting all the way through the 'zzzzs playlist' on my ipod; and mind you I have never ever gotten through this playlist before because I always fall asleep less than halfway into it.

Last night I was sitting in a small Chinese restaurant on the street having dinner with a friend, and it suddenly struck me that I am getting used to living in a random city in China that is not Beijing or Shanghai. Who has even though that China has other places to live in? Its like thinking about India beyond Bombay and Delhi, and nobody does that. China is such a big, big country and I do wish I had the time to travel over here, but for now I am going to have to be satisfied just staying over here for the time being. I had seriously expected that I would be miserable over here all summer long, but I've been surprisingly having a good time.

I was away in Hong Kong last weekend to visit my family and just got back to Guangzhou on Monday morning. I had a great weekend, but what can I say, it almost felt like coming back home when I got back to my little room here. Plus, I love living on my own. Sometimes, it scares me how much I like it because it just confirms my awful suspicion that I am never going get used to living with anyone else in my life. I just think that its one of those things that I will eventually have to deal with in the future, and what is the use of having problems if you can't push them away for another day, right?

So as I was saying, I've been having a semi-decent/almost-good time over here and its really weird to think that I've been here for almost a month now. It really doesn't feel like that long. I'm so not looking forward to go back to Milan in September because Milan = university = lectures + exams = misery, but I kind of miss my home and my bed, especially my bed. I also miss having good hair days because the humidity here kind of makes it impossible for my hair to be decent no matter how hard I try. Sometimes I'm such a girl, aren't I? But hair has always been a touchy issue.

Its almost 3 a.m. and I really must try and get some sleep otherwise I am never going to wake up tomorrow morning (which is in 4 exact hours).

Friday, July 31, 2009

On the world's favourite boy-wizard

Its 31st July, also known as Harry Potter day to most of us nerdy HP fans and I've never done a Harry Potter related post in all the years I've had this blog, so I thought I might as well. Even though I don't talk about it much at all, Harry Potter has always been a big part of my life ever since I can remember. Its something that I have pretty much stopped being embarrassed about (hey, at least its not Twilight, ok?) because once you become twenty-one, all the things that used to embarrass you so much when you were a teenager don't really seem that important any more. Also, when I started reading HP, none of my friends even knew what it was, and so I never bothered bringing it up. Even when I was a kid, I used to have this irrational fear about talking to people about things that were important to me because I used to be terrified that they were going to use them against me or ruin them for me by dismissing them. I, unfortunately have this ridiculous fear even now, which pretty much stops me from having meaningful relationships with people.

But as usual, I digress, I stared reading Harry Potter when I was about twelve. A few years later the first film came out, and suddenly everyone was a fan. The other day it just struck me that there are going to be a whole load of children in the future who are going to grow up reading all the seven books back to back and miss out on a painful, yet exhilarating anticipation of waiting for each book to come out. I must admit that as I grew older the wait did start getting less painful although I did spend a week of having HP related nightmares/dreams before Half Blood Prince came out because of sheer nerves.

I must absolutely point out that even though I used to be and still am, to a certain extent, quite over-invested in the series, there is a slight difference between being a decent fan and being creepy and I'd like to categorize myself in the former case because creepy!HP fans are just really creepy. So no, I haven't attended fan conventions and written porn about underage fictional people (reading it totally doesn't overstep into that creepy frontier, by the way). I don't have some hidden HP related tattoos up my sleeve, haven't stalked the actors from the HP films and I don't listen to wizard rock (which is a genre of music bigger than you would expect it to be!). I don't even listen to the podcasts from fan websites or post/read deep, meaningful discussions and editorials on forums. So, from HP standards I'm a really terrible fan actually.

All that said, I'm still a pretty big nerd when it comes to HP related trivia; or at least I used to be until a couple of years ago. I may not know how many sickles there are in a gallon but I do know all about Ali Bashir and his magic carpet, and who the hell Euan Abercrombie is. Harry Potter has been an important part of my adolescent life and I have come to accept it without any shame at this point of my life. Even though I never got tortured by my friends, my parents have always given me so much hell for liking Harry Potter as much as I do. Who needs crappy friends when you have parents at home to tease you about your nerdy obsessions?

It was a good phase, as far as phases go and it was awesome growing up right in the heart of it. I literally grew up with the books, reading the first one when I was twelve and the last one when I was nineteen. Also, I do have awesome HP related stories to tell people now, like that time in Barcelona where we basically spent three days searching for a theatre that showed Order of the Phoenix in english (which we eventually did manage to find) and stumbled onto the best beach of the city (with the least number of tourists) or the summer that I was in New York when the 6th book came out and entire America went psychotic about 'Snape killed Dumbledore' or the night spent in a youth hostel in Lisbon reading the last book (which we bought at midnight after queuing up behind 10 year olds) when we had a whole day of sightseeing early next morning. Incidentally, I also dragged/tricked my mother to watch Half Blood Prince, after a fifteen hour flight the night I landed in Hong Kong two weeks ago.

As far as teenage fads go, I'd like to think that mine was not that bad after all. I always thought that I would have been really upset once it was all over, but I think what I had when I finished the last book was more of a sense of relief that it was all finally over. There was no nagging sense of I want more, and I was quite ready to grow out of it slowly and steadily. I'm not going to count the films because I am quite indifferent to them, but still religiously watch every one of them during their opening week, if not on the opening day itself because that is what a good fan is supposed to do. I would also like to think that I'm forcibly going make my kids read one book a year, but I know what I'd do if my parents ever told me not to read something until I was older.

Another week gets over, and its finally Friday night. No work for two whole days, YAY!

PS: I watched The Big Sleep last night with Humphrey 'I'm so cool, I don't need an umbrella, I have a raincoat!' Bogart and Lauren 'why are we wasting our time talking when we could be in bed right now?' Bacall. There is absolutely nothing better than a black and white thriller on a rainy night in and I have always been such a sucker for old Hollywood.