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"There’s been a Death, in the Opposite House"

There’s been a Death, in the Opposite House,
As lately as Today —
I know it, by the numb look
Such Houses have — alway — 
The Neighbors rustle in and out —
The Doctor — drives away —
A Window opens like a Pod —
Abrupt — mechanically — 
Somebody flings a Mattress out —
The Children hurry by —
They wonder if it died — on that —
I used to — when a Boy — 
The Minister — goes stiffly in —
As if the House were His —
And He owned all the Mourners — now —
And little Boys — besides — 
And then the Milliner — and the Man
Of the Appalling Trade —
To take the measure of the House — 
There’ll be that Dark Parade — 
Of Tassels — and of Coaches — soon —
It’s easy as a Sign —
The Intuition of the News —
In just a Country Town — 
Emily Dickinson 

I'm amused that this poem popped into my head. Never considered myself much of a poems guy, so it came to me as a surprise when this did despite only having once studied it in school many many years ago. I could still remember one of the handful of uninspiring questions that would appear alongside this poem: Who is the man of the appalling trade?

I guess it seems pretty obvious now. I find it weird that they would make us study such a morbid poem at such an age, especially since I believe the majority of students at that age couldn't really comprehend the subtlety of this poem. Then again, probably no poems would be taught if they had that objective in mind.

I guess it wasn't so much the words of the poem that stuck with me, but the tone of it. My eldest uncle was admitted into the hospital today, and the Whatsapp group consisting of his siblings and family periodically notified us of updates. Things were not looking good, and the phrase "there's been in a death in the opposite house" kept circling around in my head.

My dad decided against going to the hospital. There was no need to. He even explained his case, which seemed like he was justifying it to me, or maybe to himself, but it really wasn't necessary. For the past 7 years since my uncle has been in a nursing home due to a stroke, my dad was probably one of the few that visited him on a regular basis. My dad would talk to him, bring him the occasional siew yok or KFC, or even bring him out if my dad was in a good mood. He did all this despite the not being in the best of terms in the past, and you could always tell from the way he retold his stories that he still felt the pain after all these years.

At 9.36pm, my uncle passed away. Earlier tonight, when the updates started coming in, instead of retreating to my room like I usually do, I decided to just sit in the living room with my dad. I felt like I was giving him moral support as every notification could mean the last, although he probably didn't really need it. There's no doubt that my dad feels happy that his eldest brother is finally relieved of his suffering here on Earth, but I cannot imagine what it must be like to have someone that you see at least once a month just ... cease to exist.

Before the last message, he started telling stories of his past once again. He would always say he hates reminiscing about his childhood because he never had a good one, but he would then proceed to contradict himself and repeat the stories of being mistreated by people around him. It probably helps him to be grateful of what he has now.

Rest in peace, uncle. It was nice seeing you three days ago.

Rise and shine

"Is it ... morning yet?"

I thought to myself as I stare through the curtains, trying to figure out whether is that the light from the gentle morning sun or the glow of the urban night that doesn't get as dark as it should. All this is happening while my brain slowly starts to boot up.

I turn to my side and switch on the iPad that has slept beside me for several years like an overly attached dog, realising to my dismay that it was only 7am. That meant that I only slept for a mere 4 hours, when there was really no reason in the world for me to sleep so little. I contemplated checking my fitness tracker for the amount of deep sleep that I've had the last night, but I could already conclude that it was insufficient.

The late night once again reminded me how disappointing last night's visit to the book sale was. For a short time I had this sense of overwhelming hope that I could find the book that I've been wanting to have as there were similar books and a vast selection. But that hope slowly diminished as I circled the place again and again, unconvinced that I could be so unlucky.

Anyway, iPad. Notifications. Email. Seems like it has become a recent morning routine, checking for emails. Ah, an update, exactly what I was hoping for.

For a brief moment, my heart sank, thinking a "but we're sorry" would follow the "thank you for applying", but it didn't. Thank god it didn't.

My mind has been preoccupied for the past few days with the prospects of landing this "dream job". The higher than average pay, the late commencement date (allowing me to not start work so soon), the induction overseas, it all seems extremely attractive. I don't even care anymore even if I eventually have to sell my soul, dread waking up every morning and spiral down into a state of depression; all I know is it would be a blessing to be granted that opportunity.

Much like my previous job application process in the UK, and a man who fantasises about life after marriage when he has only been dating for a week, it all seems like a set up to a huge disappointment. The cycle of telling myself that I probably wouldn't get it and subsequently telling myself I need to have the confidence to actually stand a chance just repeats itself ad infinitum.

All the best to me?

A developing epiphany

So I was watching some michelin-starred chefs (which are vastly different from celebrity chefs) talking about their food and it suddenly occurred to me why I've been admiring people who cook, bake, write or entertain for a living. At least partially.

People who are successful in these fields often have their own philosophies, which arise from a lot of introspection. These people seem to me very much in touch with their inner feelings and thoughts, which makes them unique. It's probably unfair to say successful corporate-type people do not have such qualities, but at least it seems to be the case from my perspective. Save for maybe a few famous personalities, most senior managers seem to be just making one decision from another with much "free will".

I was listening to a philosophy podcast the other day regarding the definition free will. One could argue whether when given the circumstances that lead us to choose one decision over another, does it still mean we have free will? So one person gave an example of being offered 100 pounds to stroke a huge, hairy spider. As much as that arachnophobic person wants the additional money, he can't possibly bring himself to touch it.

Anyway, my point was that if a day-to-day responsibility of a senior manager is to make decisions based on a very limited set of options, there isn't much introspection required, there's no inner soul to channel.

I don't know where I'm going with this, but I need to stop writing and start studying for the exam I have in 5 days.

My first traffic offence

So I was on my way to a friend's birthday party in some posh rented apartment in the centre of KL, with the help of my GPS. Made a left turn that I guess I wasn't supposed to despite being instructed by my GPS and immediately got flagged down by a traffic officer.

It was a trap!

He was condescending as hell, but I guess there's no crime in being condescending.

I'm still slightly annoyed by the whole incident. I wouldn't be so bothered about it if I were caught speeding or going through a red light, at least then I knew I was doing something wrong.

Stupid confusing KL roads.

Obligation

These moral obligations that are slowly eroding my being is getting on my nerves. How many more of these annoyingly unpleasant things do I have to fulfil? Already I have very little satisfaction and happiness in life and I still have to be bothered with this crap? *flips desk*

More problems

Apparently my scalp is pretty effed up too. I don't really know why I refrain from typing the f-word. Maybe it's because my mom might read this ...

Anyway, yeah. As if I don't have enough physical issues. FTS, really. Where's that cure-all machine in Elysium?

October post

Dear Diary,

Today's one of those days. I've been mentally keeping track of one of those "it's been x days since y" counters and now it's back to zero. Hooray.

I need to stop being so apologetic about being all woe-is-me on a platform that virtually no one reads. Yeah, you know what Diary, imma say whatever I want.

I wish I was more average, at least grades wise. I mean, what's the point of having good grades if you're not spectacular in any other way? I feel like I'm caught in between this limbo of having decent enough grades that people expect something out of me and being not special enough to stand out from the crowd. When I say people expect something, I mean at least getting a job in some big company, not necessarily a high-flying investment banker gig.

Wouldn't it be so much better to just start out small and be more pleasantly surprised when success occurs? At least in that case, being mediocre for the rest of my life doesn't seem that bad of an outcome. Why can't I just suck at school, realise I kinda have a thing for food and start working hard towards that direction? Now, I get the opportunity to be a prime example of the Chinese saying about smart kids not necessarily becoming successful adults (小时了了,大未必佳).

Screw those adults that says kids these days are picky about their jobs. If I hadn't spend a fortune on education, I probably wouldn't care. Besides, it's them who made everything so bloody expensive these days. I don't even know why do I care, I'm not even looking for a job yet.

I'm honestly sick of being so depressed at times. It's not as if I could help it. Do you think I would choose to feel this way if I had a choice? Is that why depression isn't a thing and psychiatrists are essentially worthless? Is it that bad that I want to at least have a job that won't make me feel so depressed, after spending three years of periodically feeling like crap while simultaneously enjoying the freedom of living independently?

Although I would never kill myself, dying doesn't seem that bad sometimes. The highs don't feel sufficient enough to compensate for the lows.

Denial

Came across this post on reddit written by a cancer patient. It was about him finding out he didn't have much time to live, and proceeded to advise everyone to not waste time doing stuff they didn't like.

I immediately closed that tab, not wanting to open up that part of me again.

In all honestly, whatever career path I've been looking at has been mainly focussed on the potential of making more money. I've reached a point where my mentality is "if I'm not going to do anything I like, might as well do something that makes more money".

Sometimes, I wish there was a restart button.

A visit to the nursing home

"What plans do you have today?"

"Don't think I have any, why?"

"We're going to visit your uncle."

My father's eldest brother has been paralysed for many years as a result of a stroke. Since then, he has been in a nursing home, wheelchair-bound, unable to utter a single word and only communicate exclusively using a variation of sounds and single-handed hand gestures. 

Upon our arrival, my uncle was seen sitting in the front porch of the nursing home, staring through the gates as if he knew that my dad was coming. The sad reality is that he probably was waiting for my dad, knowing that he would visit about once a month. The only thing we don't know is how often he does that.

My dad had to tell him straight away that he won't be bringing my uncle out today. You could almost see the disappointment in my uncle's eyes. He even had his going-out-slippers on. 

The rest of the patients were in the living room, consumed by whatever that was on the TV. Come to think of it, that would probably be a better option than waiting.

We sat around the table in the porch and my dad started talking to him while he had the KFC that my dad bought. It's a good thing my dad's pretty talkative in nature, since the conversation consists of him talking and my uncle just reacting to whatever he says. With my mom around, it was vaguely reminiscent of the days when our whole family actually had reunion dinners together with the conversation of family and relatives.

I respect my dad a lot, because other people in his shoes probably wouldn't do the same. My uncle wasn't particularly helpful back when my dad just got to the city. If anything, him and his wife were pretty condescending as they were pretty well-to-do, whereas my dad was the poor younger brother he had. My dad would go on and on about how his eldest brother did not even bother to call him up to see whether he was alive. I could only imagine how much heartache he must have felt.

Now, my uncle could only shake his head when asked whether his ex-wife or his kids visited him. Somewhere throughout the conversation, he did express that his son hasn't visited him for about a month, which was actually better than what we had expected. My mom would keep saying that it's the children's responsibility to take care of their father, but you can't really expect that of people in this day and age, regardless of how much you think it is the right thing to do. 

We left after several hours and the only thing he could do is wait patiently for the next visit.

Reverse culture shock

It's been more than two weeks since I've returned to the land of the hot and humid. Almost immediately, I've settled back in the house I call home and got accustomed to not having to cook or clean. Not that hard, really.

Things have changed over the past few years. For one, espresso bars have popped up everywhere. Heck, some even offer hand-brewed coffees that I thought I would miss dearly after having left the UK. Unfortunately, it's priced way beyond something that could be consumed regularly. That pretty much sums up the "reverse culture shock" I've been observing: everything is bloody expensive, and I don't understand how Malaysians can afford them.

It seems to me that Malaysians love to consume imported goods in the manner in which people from countries where the goods are being imported from are consuming. Say for instance a fresh graduate with a salary of £2000 spends £2.50 on a cup of flat white, whereas the fresh grads here with a salary of RM3000 spends RM10 on the same thing. Of course there are the lot that do not go for such luxuries, but take a trip to such places you'd see young people enjoy these cups of heaven that I wish I could have every day ...

Eating out becomes ridiculously expensive as well. The difference is that there are cheaper alternatives here, whereas the cheaper alternatives in the UK aren't that far off. A cheap meal here costs RM10, whereas it could easily go up to RM50 and above if you go for something slightly better. In the UK, a cheap meal would probably cost £5, but a lobster is just £20. I guess I'm just trying to make fair comparisons in my head, but it's really hard.

Take electronics for example. It seems that we Malaysians spend a significantly larger proportion of our income on the latest flagship smartphone whereas in Western countries, it seems much more affordable considering the money they make.

If I did Economics, I would probably do my dissertation on the comparison of consumption patterns. Of course it would be extremely challenging, but I no one's going to hold my word against me on it so it doesn't really matter.

It's great that I have a blog that virtually no one reads, so I have a place to write down my unsubstantiated observations and thoughts.

It seems like a good decision to take a break before getting a job. I'm slowly recalibrating my brain into the right state of mind. I'm so whiny I annoy myself sometimes. I'm glad my dad's there to listen to all my whining.
-Kritz

My last day in London

My day started as I headed towards the Prince of Wales Theatre to enter the Book of Mormon lottery for the 8th time. At this point I was already fed up with my luck when families of four managed to score two pairs of tickets while I've yet to get my hands on a single ticket after so many attempts.

I should never, ever gamble.

Lo and behold, my 8th time turned out to be as fruitless as the previous seven. Filled with rage, I decided to just get face value tickets. Although there was the option of getting cheaper seats, I just went for the best one because ... why not? Who knows how many more years will it be before I get an opportunity to catch a musical or even step foot in this city again.

With a ticket for one of the best seats in the theatre, I left and went for lunch at The Palomar, continuing my sinful splurge with the excuse of it being my last day in London. Sitting around the bar watching the chefs do their magic was really quite entertaining.

The musical did not disappoint. It was funny and crude, but in a way that wasn't funny because it was crude. I was a bit worried that some jokes might go over my head because some ensembles in musicals like Les Misérables and Miss Saigon can be a little hard to understand with all the singing over each other, but it turned out fine.

I headed over to the TKTS booth to see if I could catch something else later that night because I didn't want the day to end just yet, and I was glad that I did. Got a cheap ticket to see The Woman in Black.

I then took a tube all the way to South Kensington to buy an éclair from Maitre Choux and back to Covent Garden for dinner before heading to the Fortune Theatre for the play.

Dinner at Barrafina turned out to be life-changing, but not because of the food despite the food being great as well. I'll leave that for another post, but if it weren't for that meal I had there and then, the decisions that I've made right now would be drastically different.

The play was quite good. It wasn't the type of west end show that most people would go for, but I thought it was worth every penny that I paid. Amazing how the two actors could pull off an entire play.

And with that, my last day in London was concluded. I want to say I vowed to be rich enough to do something similar to what I did before visiting London again, but I'm do not like having to go against my word ...

I hope the next time I visit London again, circumstances would be different.
-Kritz

Now what?

I'm back from my Krakow-Rome-Naples-Istanbul trip. I'll have to admit that I was a little apprehensive at first, worried that travelling alone might not be suited for me and that I'd regret my decision halfway through the trip. Now that I'm back, it felt as if I only had a weekend away when it was more than 2 weeks. Met quite a few interesting people along the way. Of course there were times where things didn't go as well, but I can honestly say that those minor setbacks weren't that significant.

Anyway, results are out.
Don't know why part of me still has that little hope of getting a first class for my degree, when in reality it's very, very unlikely. Hoping some miracle would happen and I would somehow, miraculously achieve the bare minimum for a first, hah.
I posted that on the 23rd of May, and guess what? A miracle happened. It was pretty much "bare minimum" too.

I guess I would say that I'm happy, but not as happy that I'd expected. Looking back, I really did screw up my first two years and I could've easily scored better. Then again, I hated the modules then with a passion.

Relatives have been congratulating me, and this makes my getting a first more of a relief than an unexpected surprise. Makes me wonder what sort of a response I'll be getting if I got a second upper instead.

It's nice to end my tertiary education on a high note. Now on to the next stage.
-Kritz

I think I'm ready

Before I get into that, I just wanted to describe how awesome I ended my last paper. I left a one-and-a-half hour exam 15 minutes early because I couldn't stand waiting for another 15 minutes. It was the first time I left the exam hall early.

Being the first to strut out of the exam hall felt so good. It felt like a good beginning to and end.

Anyway, that was about a week ago. Now, I'm all ready to begin my four-city trip. I feel like I'm in the right state of mind, ebooks all loaded up (both fiction and travel guides), tickets and boarding passes all printed, everything packed, ready as ever.
-Kritz

Coming to terms

Day 9 of my 10-day break between my previous paper and the LAST PAPER OF MY DEGREE. So what have I been up to for the past few days? Well, I've spent more than 80 hours playing Final Fantasy X. I wish I knew someone who shared the love I have for this masterpiece of a game that was released back in 2001. The story, the soundtrack, the characters, the whole Spira/Zanarkand universe is just amazing, to me at least.

Immersing myself into the game has helped me to temporarily forget about all the things I should be thinking of, which is great in a way, but really I should be solving them instead. Escapism at its finest, I guess. Thanks to the days I've spent having nothing on my mind other than the game, I am now not as excited and motivated to do anything post-exams. All I want to do now is just sulk. Time to get my mood back in line.

I wish I had the brains to do the 4-year version of my degree, at least then I would have another year to spend here. I've grown so accustomed to this way of living here that I dread thought of having to return to my home country. Don't get me wrong, it's not that one is more superior than the other, but things are different. Maybe it's just because I have been home for such a long time that I don't remember how great it can be.

Last night, I chilled out listening to the first act of Les Mis on my headphones and lots of chills were had. Same thing happens when I listen to Phantom of the Opera. Who knew I'd be the type to enjoy musicals? Some people I know just go to musicals just because everyone who comes here to study do and they don't want to be "missing out" (just like travelling) -- which is a phenomenon which I would probably write about in a post by itself -- but I genuinely adore them, so much so that I feel sad that I would probably never be able to attend another one of these performances if I were to go back home.

I guess I've never been the type to face adversities and overcome obstacles to come out stronger. Despite having great results in pre-university education, truth is I've never really worked hard for anything. If I were to be honest to myself, I would say I'm a coward. I would read aspiring success stories and be all "there's no way I could possibly do that". Studying hard is one thing, but living in harsh conditions to tough it out while trying to make it is an entirely different story. Unless I had no options, I can't see myself willingly putting myself in such a situation. Why bother going through all that hardship if I could always fall back on a much easier way out?

Writing this post has been somewhat therapeutic. I can slowly feel the urge to do something about everything coming back to me. I honestly feel like such a loser at times. At this point in life, I can't foresee myself achieving any form of success in the future, and by success I mean reaching a point in life where I could be proud of myself, and not just in monetary terms. Hope this isn't just delusions of grandeur.
-Kritz

Last stretch

2 more papers to go! Spent 2 hours this morning in the exam hall regurgitating all the knowledge that I accumulated for the past few days. Now I'm too lazy tired to study right now and I can't think of any other way to procrastinate, and thus, I'm here. I actually ran out of entertaining things to do that even procrastinating becomes a bore. Sigh.

The paper on Tuesday would be one of the more challenging papers I have, and I should really put in my all in the next 3 days since it's the last ever paper that I'll be cramming for. Well there's also the very last paper, but that's pretty doable in comparison.

Don't know why part of me still has that little hope of getting a first class for my degree, when in reality it's very, very unlikely. Hoping some miracle would happen and I would somehow, miraculously achieve the bare minimum for a first, hah.

I should probably start throwing out stuff that I won't be keeping after my paper next Tuesday, since I'll be spending a lot of time travelling around. Did I mention that on top of Krakow, Rome, Naples and Istanbul, I'll be visiting Slovenia too?

As much as I want to stay put, I don't see how is it possible now that I've filled up all the free time that could be spent job hunting on travelling instead. I guess I don't want it bad enough. As much as I admire chefs that work their asses off at the very beginning of their careers, barely affording to survive, I guess I'm not tough enough to be that kind of a person.

I guess I should just head back home and figure out my next step then.

Can't wait to replay Final Fantasy X for the third time. Words can't describe how amazing that game is to me.

I'm bored, gah.
-Kritz

Happy Mother's Day?

My previous post could not have been posted at a worse time. I can't say that I was surprised to see a comment from her on that post, since it is Mother's Day and I did write a post dedicated to her last year.

If I hurt your feelings, mom, then I'm apologise. But what's said has been said, and I do not feel the need to take my words back. In fact, I'm kind of glad that you guys read it anyway.

It's hard to feel anything on the day where we all learn what everyone's mom look like thanks to Facebook. I've been away from home for far too long. Instead of making a lovely brunch for my mother, or treating her to a fancy dinner, I had to study for exams which start tomorrow (which is also what I should be doing right now), 10,000km away from home.

Despite technological progress and the existence of Skype and Whatsapp, nothing could really come close to actually talking face-to-face.

I'm also guilty for not knowing how to reciprocate affectionate messages from my mom. I just hope you know that I love you and I can't wait for us to spend some long overdue time together.
-Kritz

I want out

Well, plan A failed. I still wanna stay here, or anywhere around here really, or maybe just away from home, but having no specific skillset to offer is kinda hindering my prospects. The thought of going home seems to be less and less appealing as the days draw nearer and nearer to the inevitable.

For some reason, the brief Skype session with my parents today irked me a lot. It usually doesn't. It usually makes me miss them a little. They seem to be on top of their game today at getting on my nerves.

At the risk of sounding like an angsty teenager, they really do not understand anything regarding my current being. Not that I expect them to, but it's just annoying when anything I say pretty much just falls on deaf ears. I don't even know why I initiated that Skype session.

No mom, getting 95% for my exam is not feasible, at all. Anything more than a 70% is a first class and it's more than enough. This isn't high school. Heck, most people don't even score 95% for anything at any age.

No mom, I don't want to go to church. I don't want to go to church here, I don't want to go to church when I go back home either. How many times do I have to repeat that? I don't recall being Hozier and singing for someone to take me to church.

No dad, despite dropping and taking different modules, none of my modules are anywhere near easy or "a piece of cake". Did you see that stack of material I have to understand by heart to do well for my papers? Do you think this is some walk in the park?

Yes dad, I know hitting the gym lifting weights would improve my appearance, but I really can't be arsed right now and bringing that up every now and then serves no bloody purpose other than to irritate me. Where were you before I left home and lost 40 kilos anyway?

I should've just let them travel with a tour group. That would've saved me a lot of time and from feeling unappreciated for putting so much thought and consideration into trying to provide a great experience.

And no, providing such a good opportunity to study overseas doesn't cancel out my rights to be irritated by irritating behaviour. I'm grateful, but still human.
-Kritz

Opportunity of a lifetime

I am now this close to getting a job in one of the Big 4's in the UK. On Tuesday, I'll be attending the assessment centre, i.e. the 5th stage of the application process, which could either be the penultimate stage or the final stage itself.

The thought of having the next 3 years of my life decided by the outcome of this assessment centre is eating me up. Last Thursday, while procrastinating, I saw a tweet advertising several openings they still had for graduates. I then went on to fill in the application form, do the situational judgment test and the technical assessment. The very next day, I got an email saying that I was through to the 4th stage, the competency-based phone interview.

Already then I was starting to picture the next three years of my life living in a place with four seasons, which I don't really mind, instead of the hot and humid that I've yet to be accustomed to despite spending having spent 20 years toughening my skin up. The desire to get this position then amplified itself by tenfold an hour after the 45-minute phone interview, when I received another email congratulating me on getting through to the next stage.

If only wanting it so bad could somehow be one of the assessed criteria, then I'd have a better chance. I guess that would equate to doing an immense amount of research and proving to them that I really want it.

I've had jobs before. I'd like to believe that I'm competent enough to get this job.

I cannot even imagine how depressed I'll be if I fail to get this.
-Kritz

Ending it all

A girl that lived right opposite my friend's room on campus committed suicide recently. Although I've never even seen this girl before, it's still scary to know that someone that's one mutual friend away decided to end her misery in the most extreme way possible.

Apparently she hated law school, and coupled with family issues she decided that she's had enough when spending her Easter break at home. My friend said no one in that flat likes to hang around much now, especially with the flowers in front of her room, her stuff in the kitchen, a constant reminder of the tragic incident.

My friend also told me that one of her closest friends recently had a huge argument with her before they separated to go home for the break. Now he has been seen just sitting there, staring at the door of the room that his friend once occupied.

I can't help but feel slightly affected by all this, even though I've never stepped foot in his flat, or even seen any of the people involved. I cannot possibly imagine being in a state of mind that would warrant such a drastic measure. I cannot imagine the gaping void left behind, like a crack in the seabed that sucks in large amounts of water and violently thrusts it back out.

It's just depressing to know that someone could be so let down by everything that they would even consider suicide.
-Kritz


Next steps

It just occurred to me how stark the difference was between a recent interview for a graduate job position and the interview I had last year for my summer internship.

For my previous internship, the three panelists seemed eager to talk to me. It was a great experience for me too because I genuinely cared about what the internship entailed (well, a little) and was able to voice my thoughts on what could be done for the project. I left that interview feeling positive and thought of how sad I would be if I wasn't offered that internship.

For the graduate job position, it wasn't anywhere near. There wasn't much of a connection. I felt as if I wasn't really suited for them and they probably felt the same about me too. I would probably get over the likely rejection pretty quick, or at least I hope I would.

I wonder what would I be doing a few months from now. Don't think my near future has ever had this much uncertainty. For the past 20 years or so, it was pretty much just moving from one stage of education to another. This really is the end of an era. It's exciting and daunting at the same time. I'm not worried, or at least not yet, but it's like the next chapter of a book that I can't wait to start. So much so, I just feel like rushing through the end of this one.

Everyone's ahead of the game, having their post-graduation plans all figured out. Well, good for them. I just want some time to do some soul-searching -- and by that I mean looking into career choices and not sitting on my arse all day -- and hopefully make the right choices.

I guess I've always been an instinctive person, and my instincts are telling me not to rush into things. Wouldn't it be funny if they offered me the job and I took it anyway?
-Kritz

Last time?

This time of the year for the past 2 years (and also this year) have been incredibly miserable. With the onslaught of summer exams waiting for me to prepare for, it's utterly depressing. So much so, that I usually end up wasting time just sitting around, doing nothing. It's like a vicious wage-price spiral, the one where inflation causes the people to demand for higher wages, and higher wages push good prices up, leading to more inflation. In this case, the number of accumulated work increases, the lower the motivation to get any work done, and hence more work accumulates. 

Sure, it's easy to brush me off as being whiny and lazy. I agree, I can be incredibly whiny and lazy (especially on my blog), but it just brings me so much disutility to actually get on with my work, especially during this period of the year. During term time, I have no issues putting aside distractions to finish off my assignments or study for my tests, or at least a lot less of a problem. I don't know what is it of the holidays that makes me so reluctant to get things done. Maybe I shouldn't have travelled, and sustained my term-time-mood.

On the bright side, it's the very last time I'll be dealing with this crap. Two months from now, I'll have finished my exams and (hopefully) be doing more research on my first ever solo trip to Italy. What's the next thing in life that would make me utterly miserable? We shall wait and see.

It's so hard to whine to my friends about this without worrying at the back of my head that they are judging me for it. I guess I shouldn't care. I guess I'm just hoping that by writing it out, I could get it out of my system. I guess it also doesn't help that whatever that I have to study is extremely off-putting and unappealing. I guess that's just part of life, doing stuff that you don't want to do.

Another unproductive day went by. I don't have many days left to afford to be unproductive. In fact, I could've said the same thing a week ago and it still would hold true. Doesn't stop me from wasting my days, however. At least I somehow managed to survive the past two years. Let's hope I survive the last. 
-Kritz

Back to reality

Just got back from Greece. Upon arrival in Greece, I realised that we were too late to catch the only train of the day that heads to Meteora. On top of that, we couldn't contact another friend of ours that we were suppose to meet. On top of that, I received an email saying that the assignment that I submitted online a week ago was blank. On top of that, I had to reply the recruiter from PwC and attend an assessment right after the trip.

Glad that's all over now.

Well, not really. Now I have two assignments to do and two exams in two-and-a-half weeks to study for.

All I can think of right now is whether or not to plan a solo trip. I guess all I could do is give myself a week or so to sit on it and see whether will the desire to travel alone still be there.

Better get back to my assignment.
-Kritz

PtO - #10

Yeah I skipped a few.


I thought attempt number 10 looked really nice. It actually looked fluffy and didn't have a flat surface like the others. Didn't actually get to try the taste though, since I prepared it for a friend. Put a little manchego cheese instead of the usual cheddar this time. Not sure how am I suppose to get it to be less brown without eating a bunch of raw eggs. I'm starting to think that the pan size is not optimal for a 2-egg omelette. 
-Kritz

PtO - #4

Stainless steel pan success!


The liquid oozing out is cheese by the way, not raw eggs.

Apparently the secret to using a stainless steel pan is getting the pan screaming hot. Eggs might be a little bit too brown for French omelette connoisseurs, but I thought it tasted absolutely fine. If only I had some chives or spring onions lying around.
-Kritz

PtO - #3


This is probably some food photographer's nightmare -- dirty utensils, angles, lighting and whatnot.

Still not getting it right. Could taste the cheese this time, which was awesome. Could do with more seasoning. Probably less oil and hotter pan. Used a non-stick instead of a stainless steel this time. Getting there!

-Kritz

Perfecting the omelette - attempt #2

I hate it when I don't feel like I'm in control in the kitchen. This happens when I'm in a rush. I hate being in a rush. At least when I'm cooking. Also the fridge did something weird to my salad bag. Why do you do this to me, fridge? :(


Decided to use my stainless steel pan again. Not sure if I should stop trying and stick with a non-stick. I should try it one last time, but with an even hotter pan. The middle was a little bit runny, so there's that. Can't really taste the cheese, not sure why I bother putting it in if that's the case. Maybe more cheese? Heh. Did I mention that I have 3 types of cheese in my fridge? Maybe instead of putting cheddar in the middle I should just top it off with some parmesan. Without the cheese in the middle, I could probably fold it three times. The ham looks stupid.

Ugh, bad omelette day. That's like my version of a bad hair day. Have to wait till Wednesday before I can do my third attempt.

This is frustrating me way more than it should. Also, I should be studying.
-Kritz

Perfecting the omelette - attempt #1

So I had this idea of creating a series of blog posts detailing my journey in search of my perfect omelette. I might very well abandon this project after this post ... so stay tuned?

Before you judge my first attempt, I have to say that I have no issues whipping up some eggs, it's just that I'm trying to do things a little different this time just to see what it's like.

Why omelettes? Because it's simple, versatile and has endless variabilities. There are chefs that lightly beat the egg to combine the yolk and the whites, whereas some beat it like there's no tomorrow to make it more airy. Here, I'd figure out what works best for me.

Here's attempt #1


It was pretty much a failure, since my egg almost became scrambled. The main reason for this was because I tried using a stainless steel pan instead of what every chef would recommend for an omelette -- a non-stick pan. Next attempt would definitely involve a non-stick one, but I might revisit the stainless steel pan some time in the future.

I added some mature cheddar and some spring onions I had. Maybe I should consider extra mature cheddar instead, to give it more of a kick. Or maybe more cheese.

The piece of ham was a mistake. Way too big. But yummy, still.

Seasoning was about right.

Will try making a simple vinaigrette for the salad next time, since I found a bottle of cider vinegar lying around.

Update: On second thought, it could be because I didn't beat the egg as much and the pan wasn't hot enough. Should I stick to my stainless steel pan?
-Kritz

Ups and downs

Recently, I sat for a mid-term test (refer to previous post). Results came back, and I managed to score a whopping 3 percentage points above the average score. Although that's nothing to be proud of, I was pretty satisfied with it. Was kinda pissed at the same time as well, because there were several marks I could've easily scored if I bothered to actually study for it.

At days, I feel like I could still work towards getting a first class; other days, I just feel like that shit ain't worth it, and settle for a 2:1. 

I have to tell myself that this is the last exam that I'll ever sit for, and if I don't try to achieve something that I'm actually capable of, it might be a regret that I'll have to live with for my whole life. I'm aware that getting a first doesn't mean anything, but it's really something that I want to do for myself. Especially since the fact that I haven't really done anything spectacular throughout my uni life, I really should at least try to get my results right. Then again, it's so hard when the you hate the guts of the stuff you're studying. 

Sigh. Let this be a reminder to myself. I should be able to do this.
-Kritz

Pre-test IDGAF Syndrome

I have a test tomorrow but I have yet to start studying, hence the title. I'm halfway through my 2nd term now, which means only 5 more weeks of lectures and I'd have no more lectures -- concluding my life as a university student. Wow.

Okay, I should go study ...
-Kritz

Being 22

It has been 22 years since I've came to existence. For someone who changes their environment or daily routine drastically every 5 years or so, 22 years may seem like a long time, but for someone who has been working in the same environment for say, 40 years, it's merely a half-way point.

As linear and objective time can be, it surely doesn't feel that way at all. 

I came across this video the other day, in which an anthropology lecturer from LSE talks about how a lot of people think that their jobs are useless, making their lives feel miserable as they do nothing to contribute to anything but essentially exchange their time to receive the all-important wage. He then mentions this concept of basic income, where people receive some basic pay and are free to do anything they wish to get more income, and he argues that in such a society, there would definitely be more good than in one that has jobs that makes people feel as if life's meaningless.

The immediate thought that comes to my mind is I'd bake, which is funny because I keep telling myself and other people that I'm not really serious about this whole thing ... but it would seem nice (at least for a short period of time) that I'd bake every day. The thought of having a day job that involves some form of physical activity and having my mind focussed on something I'm doing with my hands just seems ... ideal.

The thought of slaving myself in an office, spending every moment of unoccupied brain activity contemplating about life seems, well, depressing.

It doesn't help that economists always describe working as a form of exchange where you trade your labour (which implies time) for income that you would then use on day-to-day expenses. I guess I can finally see where love comes in as a very important part of life. 

It would be funny to read all my blog posts some time in the future where I've finally made sense of everything, assuming that I eventually do. I just hope that day comes soon.

So far, every office job I had tells me that it isn't for me. I guess it's not so much of baking that's the thing I want to do, but something that doesn't involve doing stuff that bores me. Maybe it boils down to what sort of a job can really provide me with the satisfaction essential to make life meaningful?
-Kritz

New start?

It's 4am, and my alarm is due to go off in 5 hours. Yet, I'm still wide awake, typing this on my iPad while I lie on my bed. Every thing in my head is in shambles, and I constantly make decisions that baffle myself. Something's wrong.

Lack of discipline would be a severe understatement. Wonder when did things start to go wrong. Doesn't matter. I need to get back on track, ASAP. Time's ticking. With nothing to cling on to, it'll be tough, but there are no other options.

One day at a time, Kritz.

Stuff that irks me

I should be doing some reading, but anyway ... 

I get annoyed by stuff all the time, and most of the time I don't voice it out loud because that would be unnecessary. But it's my blog, and almost no one reads it, so it's fine. 


Stuff that irks me #1: 
People who don't know how to summarise things. When I ask "What is a movie about?", I'm expecting something about one or two lines, not a friggin' detailed synopsis of the movie. I don't have that much attention span. I feel bad for being annoyed, and there's really no nice way to tell a person that they are being unnecessarily descriptive, so ... ugh. 


Stuff that irks me #2: 
Certain social media posts. Maybe I should start congregating them and write them into a book ... 

I find it annoying when people post about their personalities. Like, really? What's the point in telling people that you're an extrovert or an introvert? Do you really need half-assed Internet personality test to tell you about yourself -- and then tell the whole world about it? 

Let me look at Facebook for some inspiration ... 

Okay, maybe people who post their vacation pictures one at a time, and several times a day. Not as annoying, but still ... ugh. 

*scrolls*

People who write advices to the masses as if they are some wise person. Get off your high horse dude. I guess the high horse thing applies to a few more situations as well. For instance, posting your berries and yogurt breakfast and encouraging people to eat healthy like yourself, or complaining about the music of your generation and how some old band is so much better, or feeling pretentious as hell for liking stuff like some obscure cheese or a particular type of wine. Sophistication doesn't work that way. How can one be a connoisseur of anything when they barely have any knowledge about it? 

Oh, and hoax posts. I guess it's not that bad because some people just do not know ... but ... ugh. 

Maybe posts about people complaining about game invites. I personally do not play any Facebook games (if you receive any notifications from me, it might be because I send my dad stuff and it somehow 'leaked'). It would probably take less effort to block those apps than to write a status to complain about it.

Okay, a little haphazard, but I want to talk about that movie thing again. You see, I myself have very pretentious views when it comes to movies as well, but I don't go around telling everyone because it's only pretentious when you do that.


Okay, enough ranting for one night. 
-Kritz

Happy new year!

Wow, the holidays went by really fast. It's the first day of term 2 and my mind is still all over the place, partly fueled by wanderlust and partly from thinking of what to cook -- can't seem to get the latter off my mind most of the time.

I'm currently sitting at my desk, all cleared out and spacious, drinking tea from a Whittard mug that I splurged on (it was on sale). Had to retreat from the discussion of some arbitrary topic downstairs. As much as I despise the labelling of a person as an introvert or an extrovert, I have to say that I'm definitely more of an introvert as it really felt too demanding to participate in that conversation. No one seems to be able to be able to notice when it's one of those days for me, though.

Notable things I did over the holidays:

  1. Watched a live performance of Les Misérables. Cried ... more than expected. There were 3 scenes that somehow got to me, all spread out throughout the musical. I didn't expect to cry since I already knew what was coming, having already seen the movie adaptation of the musical. Suffice to say, I really enjoyed it.
  2. Read a few books: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Watchmen by Alan Moore, Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I wish I could huddle up under my duvet and sink myself into the world of the author but I can't. I can foresee the next few months being the same. I hope the career path I end up in eventually allows me to turn off when I leave work.
  3. Spent Christmas in Durham. Every time I go there, all I could think of is how much of a better place it is compared to where I am. It was really how I pictured studying in the UK to be -- cobblestone roads, tea rooms and cafes, shops worth exploring. It also catered to a more recent interest of mine, having fresh markets with butchers and fishmongers within walking distance. Sigh. I really liked the vibe of the Oxfam there, a three-storey secondhand bookshop! Bought Never Let Me Go for £2 that turned out to be a really enthralling read.
  4. Spent 2 nights glamping in Peak District. I really liked the idea of staying in the middle of nowhere with a pub right across the road and another really lovely pub located 20 minutes away. The walking trail was really nice too. Wish the weather had been better.
Now I see where the wanderlust came from. Sigh. I'm at this weird position where I'm aware that I have to snap back into term time mode but yet the awareness itself isn't sufficient. At this point, all I want to do is anything but studying. My first class really help heighten that feeling.

Happy ... new year?
-Kritz