27 September 2015 (Part 1)

Dear reader,

It has been almost a year (well, ten months) since we last met. I am deeply sorry for my absence. I hope you have been leading pleasant lives, full of pleasant encounters and pleasanty things.

A lot, and nothing, has been happening on my end. Let me give you a summary:

  • First real job ended two months after it began. For a variety of reasons. You could say we were incompatible. I did not find meaning in the ups and downs of marketing, and the company did not find a suitable employee in me. I simply could not make myself passionate about the work I was doing, and this proved fatal to our match. In any case, I retain pleasant memories from my short tenure; and valuable lessons in sociology and psychology were learnt.
  • I went crazy. Literally. I don’t remember if I ever told you about my depressive episodes, which occurred recurrently in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014. (2012 was an entirely happy year, thanks to the wonderful offerings of Paris where I was spending my Erasmus exchange.) Anyways, I swung to the other end in late 2014, around the time I was leaving my job as Internet Marketing Analyst. By mid-January I was entirely out of it. I was deluded and I believe at one point hallucinating. My brain had gone haywire.
  • So, I was hospitalised. This was late January. To say ‘hospitalised’ is a bit misleading; I was forced to enter a mental hospital, where I was confined to the company of other crazy people for a month and a half. It was entirely traumatising, though the food was excellent. I gained weight and a disease: officially becoming a sufferer of bipolar disorder.
  • Reeling from the myriad effects of my medication (drugs that made my brain not go crazy), I was released from hospital in mid-March, from which time I have been home (hence the ‘nothing happening’ on my end). The drugs’ side effects wore off one by one. Apparently, for weeks after leaving the hospital I walked like C-3PO. Then the neck ache (never understood what that was about; my head was fine, it was the neck that hurt) disappeared. Gradually, the morning naps became shorter until, very recently, I was finally able to go the whole day without feeling sleep deprived. So yes, many months went by without nothing much happening. I watched Korean TV, Korean series (this one was my favourite), and Korean singers. I became something of an afficionado. (Like my mom, I must add. One of these days I shall surpass her knowledge of South Korea’s entertainment industry!) Apart from that I ate and walked. My father had kindly bought me a treadmill which I used daily to hill-walk in the (ever desperate yet futile) attempt to lose my hospital weight (the stress of being confined behind locked doors having been thoroughly relieved through overeating).

Recently, however, I have been writing. And that is why I am now here updating my precious baby. For many months I had planned on picking up a novel I had begun to write when I was seventeen. And finally, at the gentle yet firm urging of my doctor (whom I like very much) to find something more substantial than Korean entertainment to occupy my time, I opened the eight-year-old file and started writing. It’s a fantasy novel, a cross between Star Wars and Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire (ah yes, I forgot to tell you I have also been spending my time digging up old novels to read), with just a hint of Pop Economics and International Relations. It’s tentatively named The Gems of Azora and takes place on, you guessed it, the planet of Azora.

I’ve been writing everyday, but the book is advancing at a snail’s pace; I swear time disapparates (random reference) when I’m writing. I had left the book at 114 pages when I stopped writing eight years ago, and now I’m at 14. Wait… what? Yes. Sadly, I’m having to rewrite most, if not all, of what I’ve written. It turns out one’s command of English and general writing skills do improve over time. I shudder thinking back to my first reading of the sloppy, grammatically-inaccurate, and overly-complicated 114 pages I had produced as a teenager. Anyways, I’m rewriting it, and if I may I have to say the book is looking much better than it did before. I read and put the finishing touches on the first chapter yesterday, and I must say it is good fun. Fingers crossed, when the time comes, publishers will agree. I won’t tell you anymore just now, but I’ll surely be back to report on my progress.

That’s it for now. I hope you found this entry entertaining.

Much love,

Val

p.s. I’m thinking of taking up a part-time job as a waitress. There’s this trendy little restaurant near my house. I really like the atmosphere and the waiting staff is polite and efficient. I think I could have a good time working there while I finish my novel. Yes, maybe I should. We shall see…

 

 

 

29 March 2014

I don’t think I’ve ever had so many slices of bread in one day.

That’s what happens when you stay at home: you eat. Everything and anything you can find within a 5-metre radius.

Four slices for lunch. Then another one just now to soak up all the salad dressing. So much for having salad for dinner!

I love bread. I really do. I always have.

Even now I am struggling not to grab another slice from one of the two loaves (whole wheat and fluffy white) sitting very temptingly to my left.

Hmm… I can smell it, the buttery smell of bread. I can almost taste it.

Speaking of bread and breakfast, there is nothing I love more than the smell of fresh toast and coffee in the morning. I distinctly remember, one day in the summer of 2012, I was in London. I had got up super early to get to my work shift. I put a slice of bread (multi grain) in the toaster, and popped my moka pot on the stove. Then, as the smell of toast filled the kitchen and the coffee started bubbling, I realised how much I loved that moment.

How happy I was. I felt at peace. At one with my surroundings. Content with my life.

It’s a great feeling. It’s easily the most memorable breakfast I’ve ever had. I remember nothing of the day that followed, but that moment in the kitchen is as vivid in my mind as if it were yesterday.

Hmm… I’m already planning getting up early tomorrow morning to have a slice over coffee before I go for my morning run.

Yes. Let’s do that.

If I wake up early enough, I might even get some reading done before I leave the house.

So that’s it from me for today, short and sweet,

Good night,

Val

 

 

20 March 2014

Bangkok is a bitch.

It is.

And I am a fool.

A fool for being lulled into a sense of security and calm after three weeks of no traffic, just to be violently jolted back to reality today. At around 8.45pm.

There I was, cruising along, feeling good about myself for leaving the city centre early to drive home, home being just outside Bangkok. I was thinking how smart I was, heading out early. After all, the roads have been so empty the past few weeks. Leaving 20 minutes early couldn’t possibly land me in the middle of Bangkokian traffic.

Ha.

I turned into the expressway, paid the toll fees, then: TA-DA. Rows of red. Red tail lights everywhere. The sight you dread most when you drive onto the expressway, right before my very eyes. And I had to spot the red just after changing into the slowest-moving lane. How very convenient.

Taking the expressway is like flipping a coin. Either you win, there’s no traffic, and you get home in 40 minutes. Or you lose, like me today, and you get home in anything from one and a half hour to two. It’s a real gamble.

Gosh and now I’m so tired. It appears I’ve used up all my adrenaline quota today.

To be fair, it has been quite an eventful day.

On the drive home alone, I already experienced two adrenaline-pumping events.

The first happened while I was stuck in traffic on the expressway. There I was, moving along. Or, rather, not moving along. All the while, I was thinking something was strange. It wasn’t until I saw flashing blue and red lights on the other side of the expressway that I realised what it was: the expressway in the opposite direction was completely empty. The police had cleared the road. Some minutes later, the motorcade arrived. And I’m betting it was someone really important. Police cars, police motorcycles, unmarked sedans, unmarked vans, moving at a speed so fast it should be illegal, in really loose formation. Unlike any motorcade I’ve seen before (and trust me, living in Bangkok, I’ve seen a few). A motorcade worthy of a Hollywood movie. Adrenaline rush number one.

The second was when I had to brake really fast because there had been an accident and all the cars in front were forced to an abrupt halt. Have you ever felt it? That instant after you’ve braked, just in time, when you’re left completely at the mercy of the car behind you. The split second where you’re half-hoping the driver behind has really good reflexes, half-bracing yourself for impact. Luckily, they did. And I brought my car (and myself) home unscathed.

And now I’m completely out for the count. It’s a wonder I managed to write this far.

Let me give myself a pat on the back.

And go to bed.

Good night!

Val