Sunday, 24 November 2013

Days 6 and 7 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge

I'm behind again! Before I go on with the blogging challenge, let me just say that I'm extremely sorry for not posting anything this past weekend. But in my defence, I have been extremely busy. On Saturday I had tennis (excuses excuses) and on Sunday I was out the whole day watching a ballet (...not nerdy at all, don't judge...).

Now without further ado, days 6 and 7 of the 30 day blogging challenge!

Day 6: What is the hardest job you have ever experienced? 
To be honest, I have never actually done any hard jobs. In 4th grade, my sister and I were saving up money to buy an iPad and we would wash dishes whenever we had the chance. And when our helper has her day off, we wash dishes too. Frankly I don't mind washing dishes. Sometimes I complain (maybe all the time) but washing dishes isn't hard, because I don't have to talk to anybody and I get to mess around with soap suds.
But I remember that when I was in infant school, I would be terrified whenever the teacher asked me to go to another classroom and pick up some papers or whatever it is that she wanted me to do. Why? Well, the truth is that I was extremely scared of the other kids staring at me while I knocked on the door. So, if I had to pick, I would say that the hardest job I have ever experienced is going to another classroom to ask the teacher for a favour.

Day 7: What is your dream job, and why?
This is probably the easiest question on the blog challenge list. Well, at least for me. I would like to be an author. Why? Because why not? You get to stay at home all day, without even having to change out of your pyjamas, and just write. All day. Yay!
My second choice would be to be a journalist. I would like to be a travel journalist, because I love travelling and I love writing as well. When I was in 4th grade (again with this throwback stuff), I wrote a short newspaper every month very cleverly called The Monthly Gazette. I would publish short stories and articles and also publish some recipes that my mum would give me. Unfortunately I stopped shortly afterwards, but since then I've wanted to do something to with journalism.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Day 5 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge

I didn't have time to post yesterday's blog challenge, but I'm going to skip it over since the topic was "3 things you would tell your 16-year-old self, if you could". So, moving on to today's blogging challenge!

Day 5: What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

  1. Writing: Writing is like my refuge from reality. Whenever I feel upset, confused or disappointed I take out a notebook or a piece of scrap paper to write on. Usually I write a short story or a poem, but sometimes I'll just write random words that I feel I need to write down to help myself feel better. Occasionally I'll do some scribbling. 
  2. Music: Music takes me into a world entirely different from my own, where I have nothing to worry about and I can sing however loudly I'd like to. I also think that a lot of music is music I can relate to, and it feels like somebody else is experiencing the same problems as me, which helps to calm me down and helps me think clearer. 
  3. Family: My family are people I'd trust with anything and they're always there for me. If I ever have problems with anything, the first people I go to are members of my family. They support me through thick and thin and always encourage me to follow my dreams and express myself however I wish. 
  4. Friends: Sometimes my family worries too much , so if I have something I need to talk about but don't want to make my parents worry about me I'll talk to my friends. My two best friends are Trisha and Anvita. They're both amazing, super funny, very thoughtful and extremely caring. I know that they'll always be there for me, and I'll always be there for them too. 
  5. Photography: People always say "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" but for me, I'm not really that tough and I have trouble moving on when things get tough. When this happens, I like to pick up a camera (or an iPhone) and capture life through the perspective of the camera, a perspective that will not change due to emotion. Doing this reminds me that there's more than one way to look at things and that there is always a way to look at something positively.

Monday, 18 November 2013

About Me

If I had to sum myself up in 4 words, I would say: quiet, quirky, unique and creative.
But I don't have to use four words, so I'm going to write a whole post about myself. Yay!


Flo, Flo Flo, Peach

Favourite colours (yes I spell favourite and colour with a u):
Blue, yellow, purple. In case you're wondering, I extremely dislike certain shades of green and orange.

Things I like:
Reading and writing are my fortes. I like to blog (see my 30 day challenge thing) but when I'm lazy, I might just reblog some pictures on tumblr. My mum tells me off sometimes for doodling all over my Chinese notebook but I can't help myself. Occasionally I might go to the shopping mall with my mum for a bit of window shopping. I'd like to buy stuff more regularly, but I'd rather save up for notebooks to make collages in. I like listening to music too - I'm currently obsessing over Linkin Park, Green Day and Coldplay. What about my favourite food? Too hard. Food is my life and I love to nom on anything I can get my hands on. But I do like sushi a lot. And pasta. And macarons and cupcakes. And... the list goes on forever. My one weakness is chilli, I extremely dislike it and my eyes water (dead giveaway). Shh... it's a secret, don't tell Vincent.

Things I dislike:
Hypocrisy, lies, fake friends and heights. And snakes or lizards. Eww.

My favourite places:
London (my hometown), Beijing and Taipei. Coincidentally (or so I think), they are all places I have roots in. Even though I've never been, Paris is also one of my favourite cities because it looks so beautiful in pictures.
Closer to home, my favourite places are at the dining table (surprise surprise) and on my bed, gazing up at the white-washed ceiling and purple walls surrounding me.

Some more stuff about me:
I like to think I'm cute and sassy but nope I guess not then.

More me:
Tumblr (main)
Tumblr (second)

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Days 2 and 3

Oh dear. It's only been three days into the challenge and already I've left out one day. I'm actually drafting this on the bus in a desperate attempt to get back up to speed. 

Day 2: Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.
Fear of heights: As I previously mentioned, I have a fear of heights. In fact the PE unit I am most uncomfortable with is rock climbing. But I don't mind roller coasters. This is probably really hard for you to imagine. A girl who hates heights and standing on high balconies but loves going on the Battlestar Galactica ride at Universal? Yeah. What's wrong with me? 
Well I don't exactly know what happened to me when I turned seven, but up until that birthday I actually loved going on the climbing frame in the park. I think that my partial fear of responsibility has something to do with this. The problem that I face most is that I'm worried I might mess up, that I might fall, that I will be responsible for my untimely demise. But with roller coasters, all I have to do is buckle up and have fun. The adrenaline rush doesn't hurt either. 

Fear of not "fitting in": In my second post I mentioned not fitting in and being socially awkward. I can only guess how this happened to me, since while I was in infant school I was actually quite "popular" with my classmates, so to say. It's actually quite ironic how I feel like I don't "fit in" since in England I stood out a lot because of my looks, whereas here in Singapore we have so many people from lots of different places. 
But if you made me take a wild guess at why I feel I don't "fit in", I would say it's because of how big our grade is, and maybe because we are shuffled around so much each year. I understand that being shuffled around and having our classmates switched each year is so we can have a wider friendship circle, but to me it doesn't make sense because it means I have to start from rock bottom all over again and make new friends. Which is hard work, considering how clumsy and shy I am. 

Fear of death: If you ask me, being scared of death is a very good fear to have. There's even a name for a phobia of death: thanatophobia. Death is scary! Why do people have to die? Where do they go afterwards? Are they re-incarnated? Do they go to heaven or hell? Do they come back to earth to haunt us? 
I don't have a full-on phobia, but death is a pretty heavy, daunting topic. My dad says I'm just like him since he was scared of death when he was a child too. I think the main thing that worries me is being alone if all my family died. I have a lot of fears, and another one of them is my fear of being alone. I'm not extremely extroverted (oh look, some assonance) but I like to have a little background noise while I'm doing whatever it is I'm doing. Being alone makes me paranoid and nervous about what might happen to me. I guess you could also say that I'm scared of what happens to humans after death. If death takes me somewhere amazing like the garden of eden, then great! But what if it's a scary, twisted version of planet earth? I wish that we could chronicle what happens after death. Then all my questions would be answered. 

Day 3: Describe your relationship with your parents

To sum my parents up in five words, I would say: caring, amazing, empathetic, responsible, calm and logical. Oops, that's six words but I've already started and I'm too lazy to go back and change it. I would say that my relationship with my parents is one of my closest relationships to anyone and I feel like I could tell them anything. I trust them with my life and they are always there to help me, whether I need to study for a maths test or just need somebody to confide in. I wouldn't say my parents are my best friends, but they're certainly not just two old people who happen to be my relatives. 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Inspiration and My New Dedication

I have trouble thinking of what to write. I need to write, but I can't. I don't know what to fill this blank page with. So much potential is contained in this empty mass of digital paper, but there's nothing to fill it with. 

So that's why I've decided to start the 30 day blogging challenge. Everyday, I'm going to ramble out a short little post about myself or whatever the challenge wants me to write about. Wish me luck!

Day 1: 20 Random Facts About Yourself
  1. Explaining where I'm from is extremely hard for me. My dad is Chinese, my mum is Taiwanese, and I was born in England (plus I hold a British passport). I lived in London for seven years and moved here in 2008. 
  2. My favourite jellybean flavour is licorice. Don't judge, it's yum. 
  3. I love to sit down at the computer and blog, even if I'm just reblogging pictures on tumblr. And sometimes, I like to just sit down, open up blogger and stare at the empty document on the screen. You're doing that judging thing again... 
  4. I like cold weather but at the same time I hate it.  I love sweater weather because it's fun to smack people with the sleeves. 
  5. My favourite book series ever is Harry Potter. 
  6. I dislike LoTR.
  7. I have a bad habit of twisting my thumbs in my lap when I'm anxious.
  8. I also twist my hair in my fingers or fiddle with my clothes to soothe frazzled nerves.
  9. The most disgusting thing I have ever eaten is a buttered popcorn flavoured jellybean. (Wow I must seem like I eat jellybeans a lot).
  10. The first day of middle school was the most terrifying experience of my life ever.
  11. I'm scared of heights, but I don't mind roller coasters. 
  12. My favourite Youtubers are nigahiga and smosh
  13. My blogging inspiration is Xiaxue
  14. My favourite ways of passing the time include doodling on my notebooks, making collages of pictures/words I like and staring into space. 
  15. My favourite Disney princess is Mulan because she is a bad-arse warrior woman who saved China *mostly* by herself. And we share the same cultural background. 
  16. My favourite Disney movie is Hercules. 
  17. I like to spend most of my weekend mornings sleeping. Ouch, you're judging me so hard.
  18. My childhood dream was to have green hair (I was an odd one). 
  19. I can't ever imagine myself being a rock climber or a dancer because of my extreme lack of coordination. If I was a rock climber, I'd probably fall and break a couple of bones. 
  20. I can't think of a 20th fact about myself so I'm going to end this post abruptly here.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Bikes and Butterflies

“Alright Florence, the wheels on your bike are pumped up and ready to go. Hop on, and pedal towards me slowly. I want you to be able to feel the rhythm of your legs and your pedals moving. Don’t worry about falling over, because you won’t be able to, and for the moment speed doesn’t matter. Slow and steady wins the race. Now let’s do this!” My dad clapped his hands and gave me a thumbs up. His eyes caught the light of the midday sun and his smile seemed like it was dividing his face in half. I pulled the hem of my t-shirt down a bit more and wiped my brow nervously. I pushed off from the curb and pedalled once, twice, three times.

That was a year ago. Time has passed slowly but surely, like the sand contained within an hourglass. All of my immediate family have come to East Coast Park so we could do some bike-riding. Either my bike has shrunk or I have grown, so instead of bringing my own bike my parents rented one for me, one for Selina and a tandem bike for the two of them. My hair was tied back in a messy stub of a ponytail, about the same length as my thumb. I was wearing stiff cork sandals that were not suited to the current activity. I felt like I was an unnatural occurrence - a glitch, an error, a mistake. I wiped my hands on my shorts to calm my nerves and took a deep breath, filling my lungs with air.

“Come on Florence! Keep pedalling and don’t stop. You need the momentum to keep you going, so you don’t fall!” My dad shouted towards me, his breath being carried away by the howling, screeching wind. His hands were cupped around his mouth, acting like a loudspeaker to project his voice further. He reminded me of a sports coach - proud when you reached your goals, frustrated but determined to make you better when you failed. I took a deep breath and pushed off from the curb, biting my chapped lips and inhaling the salty ocean air. Usually, I loved the beach and going to east coast park to build sandcastles was my favorite thing to do in the world. I loved the ocean and felt a natural connection to the water, the sand and the sun. Having the wind blow through my short brown hair was one of the most amazing feelings and I wished to go to the beach everyday. But that evening the salty smell of the air reminded me not of caramel but of sea-sickness and nausea. Beautiful but ferocious butterflies flew rampant in my stomach. If my life were a cartoon, I would have been green as a cucumber.

My heart pulsed like the beat of drums at Chinese new year. I pedalled once, twice and opened my eyes as wide as the wheels on my bike. The bike had moved forward because of my two unnecessarily hard pushes. Without me noticing, the bike inclined towards the ground and I fell. My feet touched the ground with a dull thud breaking my fall and I sighed. I wasn’t going to get the hang of riding a bike, and that was final. I watched my dad cross his arms and exhale impatiently. I wanted more than anything to take off my shoes and run towards the warm, golden sand and feel the cool sea water in between my toes. Riding a bike on a pavement while at the beach seemed extremely unnatural and strange. Why would anyone ride a bike when they can build sandcastles?

“Dad, there’s no point doing this. I can’t do it and won’t be able to.” As soon as those sombre words tumbled out of my nine year-old mouth I felt the area go silent. Whether it was my ears playing tricks on me or something else, I will never know, but it felt like the bright enthusiastic chatting of happy couples and families had been toned down into a muffled murmuring, like the disapproving tutting a grandmother would give to a naughty grandchild. The butterflies in my stomach returned even fiercer than before, bashing and crashing into the sides of my stomach.

“Florence, my daughter will not be a quitter. You are going to learn how to ride a bike. Do your friends know how to ride bikes?” My dad glared at me as if he was challenging me to defy him. Before I could answer he added, “I’m sure most of them do. Don’t you want to be able to ride a bike too, like them?”
That was it. That final sentence was the lone warrior that managed to bring down all of my defences, leaving me vulnerable to any manipulation or persuasion. I thought back to the first day of school and how I had felt different and excluded. From now on, learning to ride a bike was not just to please my parents anymore. It was to prove to myself I was capable of taking on this challenge.

I gritted my teeth and pedalled off again. As I pushed off, I felt my leg brush against a small part of the pedal accidentally. A small part of a healing scab peeled off, like the skin on an onion. I felt hot tears rushing to my eyes, like soldiers rushing to defend their territory. Maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t the right thing for me to do. Should I stop and give up? Looking backwards, I saw my parents focusing all their attention on me. I couldn’t stop now. I wanted to prove I was a strong and capable girl.

No. Stop it. Don’t show the enemy that you’re vulnerable, Florence, I thought to myself as I pulled over once again to wipe the plump, round-ish tears from my eyes before they could roll down my cheeks. I sniffed a couple of times and took a drink of water. Even though the water was only a little warm, it felt like scalding oil was being poured down my throat and I had difficulty swallowing. My hands were glistening with beads of moisture and slowly wiped my hands on my shorts. I watched my dad smirk and nod towards my mum, before they shared an intense glance. My eye caught my dad staring intensely at me and he hastily averted his eyes, looking at a leisurely fly buzzing by. How I wished I could be that fly, free to go wherever it wanted and with not a care in the world.  Nobody offered me a tissue, so I dried my irritated red eyes on my sleeve.

I caught a quick glimpse of myself in a puddle of water in the cracked pavement. Red and bloodshot eyes, lips zipped shut into a tight line, eyebrows crinkled in a undulating line across my forehead. This wasn’t me. Since when had I started looking like that?
“I’m ready, let’s go.” My voice sounded slightly cracked and shaky, like the sounds it made when I tried to whisper loudly.  

I pedalled onwards, ignoring the searing sting from my leg. It felt like I was being branded by a hot iron, only slightly less intense and more drawn out. My parents made a u-turn from the front and told my sister to lead the “parade” through the park. I could feel my dad’s eyes burning a hole through my neck, a sure sign he was concentrating on me. In the back of my head I heard a sarcastic, mocking voice telling me to pedal faster or else I would fall - as if I didn’t know that much already.

Come on Florence! You need more momentum! Don’t you want to pedal a bit further without falling? I shook all evil thoughts out of my head. Be quiet, brain. Dad isn’t THAT bad to me, just a little strict and short-tempered sometimes! I scrambled the thoughts in my mind like eggs in a pan. He’s just showing a little tough love and discipline so you can learn a new skill.

My dad was not actually a distant and cold-blooded tiger parent. Sure, he was strict and had high expectations for my sister and me, but his ego was not overly-inflated and he was usually relaxed and affectionate. He liked to wear bright coloured t-shirts and casual shorts outside of work, but he had rectangular glasses with silver temples which made him look a bit more fierce than he actually was. He liked to tell stories either about his childhood and Chinese proverbs. It was strange to see my dad so uptight about a matter as simple as riding a bike. Perhaps it was the simplicity of the task that made it more painful to know that I couldn’t achieve it.  

I turned my head back quickly to shoot a glance at my parents. I winced as my hair slashed my neck like a whip, telling me to pedal faster. My dad’s gaze reminded me of a stealthy lion stalking an innocent zebra in the grassy savannahs of Africa. I shuddered at the thought. Shush Florence. Just because he’s being a little bit distant instead of showing the usual amount of affection towards you doesn’t mean he wants to eat you. I smiled at the thought of my dad with a bushy lion's mane and turned my mind back to the task ahead.

As I slowed down to brush my hair out of my eyes, I flicked my head back and snuck a peek at my parents. My dad was chattering happily to my mum. Learning to ride a bike couldn’t be that hard if they could pedal, steer and talk all at the same time! I mentally applied some superglue to my hands and gripped the handles as if I was trying to hold on to a precious family heirloom.

I looked around absorbing the imagery surrounding me and I saw a flash of silver and black on the pavement beside me. It had rained the night before and the water filled all little nooks and crannies that could be seen - this puddle was long and had a strange shape, distorting the night sky and I leaned over to get a closer look. I saw a little girl’s face that looked pale, scared and sweaty. The little girl stared back at me, with eyes as wide as saucers and a tiny little mouth drawn into a pink rosebud at the bottom of her pointy and pale face. When the wind blew, the water rippled and she looked like the person in The Scream.

I realized the little girl was me and I pedalled away as fast as I could. I couldn’t let myself look like that, not even if it was a deformation. Was this a sign telling me that I should toughen up? My sister’s voice played over and over in my head. Man up, man up, man up....

My eyes caught a slope approaching rapidly, reminding me a little bit of a cheetah chasing after its prey. Once again, I was the victim of a fierce African animal. A great battle took place within me and the two parties involved in the fight were Victim and Victor. Victim insisted that I was the weaker person between my dad and I, but Victor told me that I was capable of learning how to ride my bike and that I would come out of it stronger than I had ever been before.

Victor was the winning team. After that, my attitude towards the slope was much more cheerful and optimistic. The slope would certainly give me a bit more momentum and I wouldn’t have to pedal, thanks to gravity. It would give me a chance to get used to the rhythm. The wind rushed through my hair and I heard it murmuring in my ear: Here’s your chance Florence, take it or leave it. Show your dad what you’ve got. I bit the inside of my cheek to brace myself. Unfortunately I bit a bit too hard and a salty metallic taste flooded over my tongue. No matter. It was time to be brave.

I stopped pedalling and just felt myself gliding downwards, down the slope. It felt like freedom. The warm, salty-smelling air and the rush of adrenaline felt like a key opening a lock that had been chaining me down for as long as I could remember. I wanted to push my bike up the hill and go again, but time was slipping by, just how water trickles through the gaps between your fingers.

My sister stopped pedalling and stopped, rearing over to the side of the pavement. I followed.
“So how was that, Florence? Fun? I bet you definitely know how to ride a bike now, don’t you?” My dad pushed his uncombed hair away from his eyebrows and smirked at me cheekily. His grin reminded me of the smiles monkeys would give you after stealing food or a hat from you at the zoo. I fiddled with my hands as if I was rolling an imaginary piece of blue-tack back and forth in my palms. My sister looked towards us, her eyes darting backwards and forwards between us as if she were following a tennis match.
“Yes, I definitely know how to ride a bike now, dad. That was so thrilling. Can we come again sometime?” I attempted to fake sarcasm, but my true feelings gave way and I couldn’t help but reveal how I really felt about learning to ride a bike.

I looked down at my shoes to hide my cheeks, which were rapidly reddening. A puddle caught my eye, and I stared into it as if it were a crystal ball that could predict my future. This time, instead of a sad, disappointed and frightened little girl I saw a girl who was stronger and more confident. This little girl had a grin that stretched from ear to ear, a glowing complexion and she held her head higher.  I felt like a little caterpillar who had metamorphosed into a butterfly over only 45 minutes, and I wasn’t ever going to look back.

Not Flawless

I have a confession to make: I am socially awkward.

I've always been shy and more into books than boy bands. Being naturally quiet and submissive doesn't help either. I care about fashion but I like to think that I have my own style. Using a Nokia instead of an iPhone makes me pitiable and means I can't be on Snap-chat, WhatsApp or Instagram 24/7.

I'm too skinny. I'm nerdy. I'm weird. I don't have many friends. I have a short temper. I never talk and have tiny little eyes that follow you around the room. I have a bad habit of playing with my hair or pushing my glasses up my nose when I'm nervous and I'm constantly fiddling with my hands.

But really, I'm just like everyone else. Nobody is flawless and everybody makes mistakes. No matter how "popular" you might seem, deep down inside you are probably just as scared about making new friends as I am. Or maybe you hate sports and couldn't catch a ball if your life depended on it.

Basically, no matter how much you improve in life you can never be perfect. I am covered with flaws, filled to the brim with goals to set and areas to improve in.

But you know what? I'm a human, and I'm okay with that.