Meander

Even though my internship in Ghana is a time and place very, very far removed from my current realities of air-conditioned apartments, eat-all-you-can dining hall meals, sociology class readings, and white people discourses, I still think about that little town in the north of Ghana very often.

Written 1 year and 2 months ago, and saved as a draft post.

Dug up 1 year and 2 months later, because here I am in my air-conditioned office room, trying to map out my 5-year plan (a new year’s wish I made at Christmas), as the faint nostalgia of a floaty, drifty, meandering time of the past starts to set in.

Wait, wait. Hold on a sec. Was it only last year when I was still irresponsible and reckless? Wholly surrendering to my naiveté, letting it take lead as I made decisions based almost solely on how I felt at that instant?

A floaty, drifty, meandering time when I made decisions for a Long Term that only went as far ahead as one, two, three months later.

Now my Long Term extends to one, two, three years from now.

Graduate school, career, personal savings.

What, unsure, not enough.

Not exactly a bad thing, though. I think it’s when you’re so set on a certain path, when you don’t allow space for meandering, that you forget there are other ways to get to where you want to go.

Also, that word leaves a bad taste. “Career”. Reminds me of Snake and Ladders.

The Card

“It’s not love, and it’s not not-love.”

I sometimes feel like we’re in a limbo here, doing a dance in which one is confident and sure-footed, the other uncertain and stumbling.

We go through life expecting to be dealt with a few tough hands. But occasionally, life deals you with cards you completely did not expect, cards you have no idea what to do with.

Like this one card. This card that came in the form of a person.

A person who had long black hair and an undercut, who swore like a sailor. A person whom I thought would be right at home at Sungai Wang, hanging with the Cheena homebois. A person armed with a repertoire of Cantonese insults, to be used on any unsuspecting soul who dares step on her toes.

I had no interest in this person. It was a card that I’d leave in my hand, to be ignored and left aside for as long as I had other cards to play.

But then the game I thought I knew so well changed its course. We got stuck in traffic. And I found it harder and harder to ignore that one card, that card that all this while didn’t seem to fit anywhere in my game.

If I ever was mistaken about someone, this is it.

This card, my Cheena gangster, is in fact a sentimental soul who listens to songs written with emotions and pens poems about Love and other Feelings.

A person who still has a repertoire of Cantonese insults, but a rusty one that hardly sees the light of day. A person who makes people feel at ease, who jokes candidly with strangers, who makes an effort to remember names and faces.

Someone driven, with a destination.

Someone so full of love, with so much yearning for all things beautiful — art, people, experiences.

This is a person who chose to open herself to me, for me to discover her, and to discover life with her.

And in my game of life, I took the leap of faith and played this card.

This card that came in the form of a person with an undercut and who swore like a sailor.

I can’t yet know if I’ve won the game, but it has also been one of those games, you know? The ones in which you’re playing with the loveliest people and you’ve been belly-laughing non-stop and no one’s winning because no one is trying to. Everyone is secretly trying to keep the game going. Even though it’s late and you have work tomorrow, you couldn’t give a shit because you’re enjoying things as they are a little too much to want it to stop.

It’s one of those games where the process matters more than the outcome. And if the journey is beautiful, who can say that anyone loses?

Mid-blog-life crisis

I am quite positive all owners of personal blogs go through this one phase, in which they wake up one day and decide that they have too much crap on their blogs. You can usually tell someone has hit this phase when their blog, once full of widgets and links and images, and moving bits and colorful bits and pointless bits, suddenly becomes very…. spartan.

So this is me, going for the minimalist look.

I was going to go for something very bare-bones, something very text-editor-esque, but I changed my mind because I realized I like color too much. Plus, black text on white reminds me of Word documents and college research papers, which reminds me of gruesome all-nighters, which are not very pleasant things to be reminded of.

It’s unbelievable how much time I was willing to spend working on the last theme, because now I can’t really be arsed about these things anymore.

Unwritten

I’ve spent the past four years writing academic papers, pieces of writing that ranged from 2 pages to something crazy like 40 pages.

Works that needed a ton of research, and a ton more of analyzing and synthesizing, referencing and citing (always a huge pain in the buttocks).

Writing research papers is not new to me, I am no stranger to coming up with thesises, searching through books and journals, pulling out referencable material, condensing them and articulating them in (kind of) smart sounding ways.

And so I am more than just a little disappointed to find myself here, a mere 2 months after leaving college, staring at the computer screen, fingers poised on the keyboard, desperately trying to draw out a single-paged composition that is stubbornly refusing to show itself.

I’m trying to write a press release about a workshop that took place two weekends ago, I admit I’ve never written a press release before, but it shouldn’t be this hard to write. I mean, it’s all facts, information that I already know from having been there, done it. But nope, my blank mind is in no mood to cooperate with me tonight. This same mind that is used to crunching mountains of research information into a (semi) coherent paper is now having trouble turning a bullet-pointed list of Who-What-Where-When-Why-How into two short paragraphs of a few sentences.

Is this what leaving college does to you?

(But isn’t it funny I can still blog? Eh? Eh?)

Fitter Happier

So the news is, I’ve found a job. Or rather, it has found me. Dropped onto my lap in the most unexpected way a week ago.

I went asking about a volunteer opportunity, was invited to apply for an internship, and ended up being offered a full-time position. All in the span of 3 days.

This, of course, marks my first ever real-world, post-college, full-time position.

It allows me to meet a lot of awesome people who’ve done some pretty wonderful things. Every time I meet someone and find out who they are and what they’ve done, my jaw drops.

It is tons of fun. I work with a bunch of high-profile people who keep very low profiles. I’ve never worked anywhere else where I’m allowed to make fun of my bosses!

And best of all, it is completely relevant to my sociology degree and what I want to do. It focuses on social change. It allows me to network with people who organize awesome large- and small-scale social benefit events.

Do you know how rarely the above three coincide?

I was looking at opportunities to volunteer in Malaysia during the time that I worked on applications for internships in the US, but after having found this, I realize it is highly unlikely I’d find any other opportunity as wonderful as this one. So I’ve signed on to work for a year.

I kind of want to start gushing about all the passionate people I’ve met in the past week and all the impressive things they’ve done, but I’ll refrain from doing that.

For now it’ll suffice to say, I’m enjoying myself, and I’m fucking glad I’ve found a job that makes good use of my sociology and global development degree.

Now. Time to finally completely unpack my 3 large suitcases, cos I won’t be leaving Malaysia any time soon!