I have a problem: one that I have come to attribute to the decreasing frequency with which I write and is manifested in the increasing frequency with which I replace simple vocabulary in my everyday conversations with ‘what’. Like, ‘When are you attending the what?’ or ‘Can you please pass me the what?’ when I really just mean ‘lecture’ and ‘pen’. It is in my self-diagnosis of “English-Language-Deterioration” that I find myself publishing a new post and trying to translate my recent thoughts into prose. Here goes, this is one about the recent reunions in light of Chinese New Year.
This Chinese New Year was vastly different from the previous because of the absence of my sister. The irony lies in how they say that ‘absence is hardest to prove’, but in this case, the emptiness that I experience so deeply, the lack of conversation and company peppered with loneliness that chews on my patience every second, are more than evidence of her absence. As if my memory were a broken tape recorder, I’d constantly replay the times we’d find our ways into each other’s rooms at night counting our angpao money or end up initiating elaborate movie plans to escape boring get togethers. This Chinese New Year, there was none of that. It was as if we gave each other inexplicable courage to embark on silly things we’d never do alone.
This is the part where I experience ‘absence makes the hard grow fonder’ on a whole new level.
Without the sister (whom I now learn has been a silent protective shield for me from awkward conversations and quiet ‘hello’s), I suppose it has been a blessing in disguise for I have found myself engaged in conversations with family I have always only been acquaintances with in this season of reunion. These distant cousins whom I could never match names to faces for, are now newly-acquainted friends. This is a mix of discomfort and uncertainty, but also a little excitement toward the new things we may learn about these people we’ve taken for granted for quite a while.
Throwback to mid-January at We Will Dance marathon with these little ones, this is beginning to be an annual tradition and I like that. It is thanks to them that I am constantly reminded for where I was one year ago– orientation group, war games, learning the school song and watching storyline. Sitting as comfortably as possible back in the present, I am experiencing a dilemma. It’s one about what I want to be and where I want to go. Thank you College Admissions department for their sharing and Ms Ng Mei Sze for reminding us not to waste our time, entrenching the dilemma even further. It’s as if I’m in a limbo– between where I hope to be and where I really am. A fraction of me wishes I could fast-forward this entire part known as JC2 and ‘A’ levels, to be taken to 11 months later where we leave the school and its system. Yet, there is the remaining fraction of me which submits to the reality that I need this time to prepare for the exam and to think about what I want to be working toward.
This limbo-like feeling is unwanted and unnecessary.
Recently, at a Health Sciences Immersion Camp (as part of my efforts to be figuring out where I want to go), post-graduates who have found themselves in the ‘working world’ 10 years after they were in the same position as us shared their stories about how they got to where they are. It was strange to watch them clump their years of studying into one, single milestone in their life, as if the breakdown into what primary school was like, what secondary school, junior college, university each were like separately, was insignificant. It is strange because as we are living out the days one by one in the midst of school, we treat these different segments as separate entities that contribute to our growth differently, and we find different purposes in being in each place, being with each person. I guess sometimes we forget that our days add up– which means it’s okay to falter occasionally or let the bad days be bad or leave decisions undecided, because when they add up, you may barely notice.