Bondi Beach

by Lullanotes on Saturday, December 29, 2012

What's a trip to Sydney without visiting one of its famed beaches?

We stayed at Admiral Collingwood Lodge at Drummoyne, a suburb 6 kilometres away from Sydney CBD and luckily for us, all it took was two bus rides to get to Bondi. In my experience, I've found that taking bus rides in an unfamiliar city gave us a really good opportunity to go sight-seeing so I didn't mind that the length of time it took.

In all honesty, I expected the beach to be larger and to have more people on it but it was a little rainy that day so there wasn't much of a crowd. The beach sand is soft and fine, unlike in Singapore so I spent about two hours just lounging at the beach with my Kindle. It's a pity we completely missed the sight of Bondi Beach turning crimson.

The Big Majestic Mountains That Ate Men

by Lullanotes on Sunday, September 30, 2012

I was working for home for the past week, which is just as well because I caught a sudden bout of flu. My nose was bulbous, red and scaly due to over-friction from the boxes of tissue I used on it and my eyes a little teary from all the sneezes resembling mini explosions racking through my frame. I would have been persona non grata wherever I go in public.

In between working and resting, when I was not too drowsy from the effects of medication, I read some news, mainly about the Manaslu avalanche in Nepal. I had been reading up on mountaineering exploits after National Geographic's April 2012 publication on Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner's K2 ascent. 2 months after in another publication, they sent up a team onto Everest and one can follow their blog that documents their near real-time journey. It is just amazing to read of men and women who took it upon themselves to scale these giants who do not intend for humans to survive in its rarefied air. I leech off the sheer willpower and the determination behind mountaineering crews who took months and years to prepare for the vertical ascent, to a place you call the top of the world to be one with the entire universe. Frankly if you are anything like me who is more than aware of my (lack of) physical capabilities ... then following the blog would be almost as close as you could get to experiencing an alpine adventure and you will be hooked too. Moreover, being National Geographic and having excellent photographers at their disposal makes one just willingly suffer bouts of visual orgasm just by going through the photo gallery.

George Mallory was famous for responding to a reporter who asked why he wanted to climb Everest: “Because it’s there.” Reporters continued to ask him variations of the question again and again. “It’s of no use”, he said. “If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life”.

If it is hard not to be drawn by the grandeur of this Mother Goddess of Earth by photographs and words, think how much more magnetic it would be if you are to be there physically. The lure would be impossible to ignore and I understand how many other climbers, caught by the Summit fever would be willing to risk anything when the end seems so near but yet as it is, reaching the Summit is only half the journey and means nothing if you are unable to descend safely.

Photographs are gathered from various internet sources, mainly National Geographic.

I spent my weekend finishing off Jon Krakauer's personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster on my Kindle while being "bedridden".

Sunday Peace

by Lullanotes on Sunday, September 9, 2012

Most Sundays I stay at home, doing nothing of absolute consequence. I would do my week's long laundry on Sunday by hand. I would give my face and body a good scrub. I would do all sorts of little mundane things that I usually wouldn't have the time to do any other day and maybe because of this reason alone, I found Sundays to be quietly fulfilling. It is a day that feels like fairydust is scattered in the air, changing the atmosphere. I feel distinctly that the usual hustle and bustle gets muted and the world seems to be set on a slow-mo. There is a playground just right below my apartment and children would shriek in joy there often but on Sundays, I do not hear them at all. Such tranquility is so rare and precious that I want to soak in its good grace.

This is one of those Sundays. To make it complete, there was a gentle drizzle to wash the city afresh of the haze that had plagued us for the past few days and all the greens outside my window are now clean and waving happily in the wind again.

Young Love

by Lullanotes on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photo of dolls taken at an art exhibition in Shanghai, 2011

This initial experience will fade over time, but love will return again and again, in slightly different form. Emissaries from the same spirit will continue to appear before you. Each time you are visited you will remember. You are a veteran now. You know how love can come, how it appears, how it feels, and what it can cost. You know how powerful love is, and how dangerous, and how delicious, and when it comes again you will be ready. You are experienced. Here is something else to face and face squarely: This was a loss. Every now and then you have a loss and you pause to feel pain and sorrow and you keep going. You are changed. You're not the same afterward but neither are you ruined. For instance, even if you never see him again, for the longest time if you hear his name you will have a reaction. That will be your body's way of remembering ...
Cary Tennis in one of the posts in his advice column

It's 1 After The 30

by Lullanotes on Monday, August 27, 2012

My Birthday Cake taken on my 29th

I think I have many thoughts this year on turning 31. Much more than I did when I turned 21 and a lot more than I did when I turned 30 last year. 21 and 30 are the supposed defining moments in a woman’s life. 21 is of course an indication of independence, transitioning from girl to woman and 30 is another milestone, if I may so put it that way. It is the ambivalent transition of woman to woman but not the same woman. You are supposed to feel powerful at 30 – with a career already well in motion, emerged stronger from a few broken relationships and may even have children to run after. If you are cynical like me, 30 also spells a decline.

You understand that all these are generalizations and of course everybody’s life pans out differently but what I’ve listed is what you may have thought of as a child, 13 going 30 and I’m sure those possibilities definitely crossed your mind. I know I have. But fast-forwarding the track, my life has also taken a route less travelled and whether it converges to the point of how I imagined it to be is still unknown.

Of late, I have been a little philosophical and forcing myself to take a step back to observe what I want. It is easy to fall into the lure of a monotonous pattern if you do not make the slightest struggle to get out of it – Eat, Sleep, Work and ? I’ve read an article on New York Times on why it is so hard to make friends over 30. I’ve also surfed some blogs whose authors show dedication in their entries that it is hard not to feel envy at how they did it. I’ve read biographies of some pretty spectacular people who never gave up and finally achieved success through their belief and it is hard to think why I should be any different. I could also be someone I envy but to be that someone, I first need to confront some demon, re-organize myself and re-prioritize.

I am an impulsive person. That translates over to decisions I sometimes make, over to my buying habits (especially my shopaholic addiction) and also my way of life. Do first, think later. Not the smartest of move in any circumstances really but I am just lucky that my impulsion has never turned out disastrous for me. Broke yes, go hungry no. However I hope that all’s that going to start changing. I am not delusional enough to think that I could go on a shopping famine anytime soon but I found myself evaluating my purchases. Many times just within this week, I’ll fervently put things into my shopping carts online but yet when the time comes to click “Pay Now”, I actually faltered and the best part is I didn’t follow through. I started feeling guilty about my overflowing wardrobe. I want to take pride in it and say that everything in it is well-loved and worn but it looks like for a long time, till I manage to streamline it, I won’t be feeling that pride anytime soon.

I am a disorganized person. Much of any form of organization remains only in my head. In the past, I used to revel in “an organized mess”. I thought the term sounded so cool and it made me feel .. interesting even though it now seems like a lazy excuse to remain status quo. But really, I am not that hopeless, it’s just I could just do with a lot more organization.

Point is, on turning 31, I want to be really inspired and to find joy in simplicity. By inspired, I mean to feel a sense of elation in doing things. So the adage goes something like “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day” and that is where I want to be. If I pick up ukulele, I want to learn to joyfully go through with the process instead of stressing over it. If I want to wear something out, I do not want to pull and tug and yes, I will iron it before I go out in order to look more “polished”. If I have to face an unavoidable circumstance, I will make the best of it.

Here is my bucket list:
a. My airplane wear is not going to be sloppy ever. It can be comfortable but still stylish. I will not live in my sleepwear.
b. I will learn how to not be awkward around total strangers. I will smile and devise a way to make clever, small talk.
c. I will not spend all my money on shopping. *Note the ambiguity. Instead, I will better assess my wardrobe and shop in it.
d. I will get back into the momentum of writing.
e. I will read not just trashy novels but also meaningful things.

Learning to just be myself is a long overdue task.

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