archived fragments

imported from fragmented.posterous.com

Month: July, 2011

Finding my self.

I watched two videos in relation to happiness today:

 

 

Make a guess which one I could relate more to. 

I think happiness and basically, life is a hugely personal experience. You can have facts backed up by solid scientific research, but if it doesn’t feel right for you, it doesn’t. For example, I had really bad gastric discomfort a few years ago. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t shit. I was an advocate of western medicine, largely influenced by my upbringing – my biological family trusted chinese medicine and my foster parents spent their best effort trying to make me believe that TCM was rubbish.

I took antacids for two weeks and I felt even worse. One fine day, a tiny voice in my head said to me, hey, why not just try TCM? Obviously western medicine wasn’t helping and there isn’t much to lose except money. I took two doses of awlful-tasting dark-coloured chinese medicine and my discomfort was cured. Completely. We chinese call it ??????, which means breaking the roots. I never felt that sort of gastric discomfort again. 

So, scientifically antacids should work, and till today TCM cannot really be backed up by science. And accupuncture is still considered to be a placebo effect. Well, I have had countless friends and relatives cured by these ancient methods when the typical western medicine and physiotherapy didn’t work. 

My point is, I think it is important to be open to trying anything and judge for your *own* self what works. It doesn’t mean that something can work for 99% of the population, that doesn’t mean it works for you. You may very well be that poor 1%. 

I think in the past, I have found it really difficult to be who I am. 

I think a big part of why I love SF is because it is so unstructured, chaotic and yet strangely arranged in a colourful manner, booming with technology at the same time. 

I have begun to rethink my entire Self. I thought I was anti-social, but it seems like I do enjoy socialising – I just don’t enjoy socialising with energy-drainers. I thought I hated walking, but I actually enjoy walking in places with tons of space and lots of things to look at. 

More importantly, I thought I was chronically depressed. 

The jury is still out on that, because I have only been here for a week. But I have stopped my daily dose of anti-depressants. Why? Because I honestly don’t feel depressed anymore. Ultimately I may have to pick it up if I eventually start to feel ill again, but it doesn’t make sense to continue them when I’m feeling good. This decision was also made largely because I have accidentally missed a dose for a day or two back when I was in Singapore and I did not suffer any side-effects. It made me re-think drugs and their effect on my brain chemistry. 

On hindsight, maybe I needed to take them for a while in order to reset things a bit. I needed that bit of energy boost in order for myself to actually make plans to fly here. You have no idea how close I was to the brink of death back a couple of months ago. My partner can testify to that.

I am still taking my TCM medicine though. Feeling happy doesn’t mean my physical health has recovered, though it definitely helps to be in a positive state of mine. My digestion has always been sluggish and I know my liver needs to detox…over here I cannot resist eating their delicious, savoury meals and I tend to over eat. Really, really bad, because I really believe that we are what we eat. But it is also easy to get great salads, so I am trying to do a balancing act between sinful meals and tons of greens.

Mentally and emotionally, I still swing between sudden pessimism with insecurity and endless optimism with idealism. For a split second I do wonder if I’m bipolar II rather than depressed. I could be in a maniac state right now for all I know. One psychic once told me that she believes bipolar is rubbish. It is just the world’s way of categorising people who think and feel different. Hmm. And I’ve read some accounts of people residing in asylums – they think they’re the sane ones, the world outside is insane. Honestly, if you think about the world in general, how we have power struggle over senseless things…maybe they are right.

I try to talk myself out of it when I swing into pessimism mode. What if my money runs out? What if I can’t find a place to stay and I have to pay through my nose to continue having a bed to sleep in? What if I don’t get some work to do?
I keep repeating to myself that it is okay if I end up poor and having to wait on tables when I fly back. At least I’ll have this experience for myself to keep and nobody can take that away from me. And it never fails to make me feel better when I remember that being poor is always better than feeling dead. 

I think that’s why I want to keep writing everyday here. I want to count my blessings and remember what has made me happy, rather than focus on the unpredictable future. Sometimes I think our brains sabotages us into thinking we’re a lot less powerful than we truly are. We definitely have the power to change, but our minds just keep constructing invisible obstacles.

You know, perhaps trying to be your true self is the greatest gift one can give to the world. I have no doubt that by living the best I can, somehow there are people, however few, who appreciates reading my very unstructured prose over here. Borderline narcissistic even I would say. I just keep talking about my self! Sorry guys, can’t entertain you much, but I hope you’ll like my honest writing anyway.

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smile & coffee

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one week on.

When Bing, the intuitive reader told me that my health issues would magically disappear when I travel out of Singapore, I looked at him skeptically. I told my friends about it skeptically. I was truly skeptical. For someone who believes in astrology, reincarnation and spirit guides, I can be really skeptical. That’s where the problem lies. If I’m entirely either skeptic or living in the clouds, I’ll be fine. The issue is I am somewhere in between, that makes everything a constant inner struggle.

I didn’t come to San Francisco because of this information. I have already made my decision before I had my intuitive reading session. I just wanted to see what he feels about it.

So. Why did I come all the way here even though it can be really expensive, I barely had any savings?

If I put it in a nice way, it is a leap of faith. If I am totally honest about it, I had no other choice. It was either I try this, or I continue to be a really unhappy person. “A really unhappy person” is actually an understatement. I was simply not interested in life anymore.

You know, I think that is a wonderful gift I have. Somehow my inner responses literally force me to make changes. Whether I like it or not. I simply cannot stay in the status quo. I actually would if I could, because like everyone else I do like comfort and security. Unfortunately, I really can’t. Each time I try I simply don’t feel like being alive anymore.

I am thankful for this. If not, I wouldn’t have made so many crazy decisions in my life. And I definitely wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post today.

A part of me is just waiting for the bubble to burst. This little voice saying, come on, it is just the initial euphoria, it will wear off. Well, if that is the case, I should be in this state each time I travel right? But ironically I haven’t been feeling excited about my travels for a long while. I just feel flat-lined. Like I have no elevation in my feelings. 

Every night when I sleep now, I wonder when will be the morning that I’ll struggle to get out of bed, like I did every single day in Singapore. I wonder when will be the day I feel like my old, melancholic self. It is like I am just waiting to be my own wet blanket.

I now wonder, how important is our environment and the things that we do? I don’t only feel better. I actually feel like I am the opposite of the self I once knew. How much does the energy of a place actually affect our physical body? Hypothetically, does the right energy in our enviroment make our cells heal faster? You know, like facilitate the right electrical impulses in our cells?

I could barely move 10m back in Singapore but now I am walking miles everyday. With my very heavy 15″ laptop. I could barely sleep back in Singapore and I hated waking up in the mornings. Now I automagically wake up at 6ish every day, no matter how tired I was the day before. This has lasted an entire week. Only a week, you might say. But I couldn’t even rouse myself for a single day back then, not to mention a week.

They say I’m wearing rose-tinted lenses because it is a new place. But if going to a new place would make me feel this way, I’ll gladly travel for the rest of my life. Lots of upheaval is fine compared to living a life of non-existence. 

I remember reading a book by Paulo Coelho and he was writing about his muse – a war correspondence/journalist (real-life person okay, I follow her on twitter). She *has* to be in the warzone reporting, even though she knows she may get killed anytime and it was affecting her marriage, but being at a warzone makes her feel alive. She’s literally addicted to being a war reporter. She feels like she’s constantly living on the edge and that makes life meaningful for her. She’ll never be caught up in the meaningless cycle of materialism because her life is constantly threatened.

I think I am similar to a certain extent. I don’t have the guts to be a war correspondence but I do thrive on new surroundings, new circumstances, new challenges, especially if they are meaningful. I can give you an example of a challenge that is not meaningful to me – having to cope with rapidly-rising housing costs in Singapore – why would I want to waste my energy just to ensure I have a roof over my head? I rather spend my energy doing something fruitful. At least I feel like I am contributing to something if I suffer. Coping with absurd living costs in an absurd country that discriminates people like me? No, but thank you. 

I am living with tons of uncertainty and insecurity now. But at the very least, I am fighting for something I believe in. Not just to have a roof over my head. (okay I am really mad at the housing situation back home, sorry for being repetitive)

I think my point is – I don’t mind working hard. Really, really hard. But there has to be a meaningful purpose to it. And when there is one, I actually really enjoy working really hard. 

I hope to have some exciting news to share with you guys in the next couple of weeks. I’ve been sending my work to a few places and the response has been unexpectedly positive. I was expecting to be ignored (see, am actually quite a pessimist).

Apart from work and talking to tons of people, the highlight for me yesterday was Rainbow Grocery. Seriously. I actually really believe I can eat a lot healthier over here. There’s TONS of healthy food options and they’re actually very tasty. I also want to say if you’re into herbs or nutritional supplements, wow. It is not one aisle of supplements, they are rows of aisles. You have a gluten allergy? They have you covered as well. 

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For once, people don’t raise their eyebrows at me when I talk about my interests. Here, even startup incubators hold regular meditation sessions. You just go to meetup.com and there’s hundreds of things to do every single day. I don’t anybody can actually be bored here. Of course, there’s always an option of travelling to another part of California or even another state.  

I’m just so in love with this place. 

bbq chicken: as old school as it can get.

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day 5 & 6 net. work.

Didn’t update this journal yesterday because I was actually busy. Doing work. lol. I regret a little bit actually, because I thought I can recall 2 day’s events at one go, but it seems like whatever transpired on tuesday is already a bit fuzzy. 

Ohh. I was at The Summit for the entire day on Tuesday….(fuzzy)….thank god I do GoWalla checkins wherever I go now. I’m not a fan of check-in apps especially when am back home in Singapore, but on a trip it is great if you really want to document where you’ve been. Like pins on a map.

Okay I seriously remember going somewhere after The Summit and before Citizenspace but I really don’t remember and there wasn’t any Gowalla check-ins in between. Weird. 

Anyway, co-working at The Summit was great though I think I spent over $20 in food, drinks and tips. Also, my back couldn’t withstand long hours with stools. i.e. No chair backing. 

So right after that I went to Citizenspace for SF Nightowls: http://www.meetup.com/SF-Nightowls/ . I didn’t manage to stay till 2am because I was a little worried about getting caught in mexican gang crossfire (am not kidding) where I stay, but the co-worker next to me so happened to live a couple of blocks away and offered to walk me home. We left around 11ish and he was telling me how he got randomly punched in the face in the neighbourhood while walking home with his girlfriend. 

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I am not so sure about my night owl status anymore. Am suffering from a mild identity crisis because I am evidently not the person I thought of myself to be. No longer melancholic, insomniac, anxious. I literally walk with a bounce now (okay perhaps the bounce is due to the cold). I look forward to going out every morning. At 7am. I am just curious what is going to happen later in the day. Not sure who I am going to meet, which cute shop I am going to pass by.

I keep on wondering if it was possible to maintain this sort of enthusiasm in Singapore. Choose some random part of Singapore to visit everyday and see what happens. But nah. I really just feel sick with crowds. Bad traffic. Concrete everywhere. I can visit nature spots….but nature spots are not condusive for work. 

Over here, I can do plenty of cafe-hopping and there is *always* space. Well, there seems to be cool co-working spaces in the plans in Singapore, it will be nice to hang out in them when they’re ready, but for now these places are all in the western part of Singapore. 

Another small detail is, here I can commute to plenty of places in the city using public transport for less than 30 mins, and it is usually a relaxing commute. If I have to walk, I can walk miles just enjoying the walk, even with my 3kg mbp. 

And I haven’t even mentioned that it is just a ride away to plenty of real nature. 

I am intrigued, because even the Americans I talk to like being in SF city. It is just such a colourful hub. Take the tech scene away and I still love it. Okay, I know I sound like an infatuated teenager…

Yesterday, I went to another co-working space, PariSoma (http://www.parisoma.com/). Again, warehouse-like with LOTS of space and high ceilings. I can imagine co-working here all the time if I were to settle down long-term in the city. Tables are huge, they have proper chairs, power points everywhere. Everyone is busy with what they are doing yet somehow there is a sense of community. There’s a few companies having perm offices in the 2nd level and I really like the unstructured yet structured feel about it. Someone came by to talk to me because of my wacom tablet. Heh. 

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If you want to be in a place where random opportunities pop-up everywhere all the time, SF could be the best place to be. I spent just the past 3 days being at co-working or networking events and I’ve already had plenty of interesting discussions. 

After PariSoma I visited Costco for the first time in my life. I was speechless. They sell everything in bulk, even bread. You can buy like 50 breadrolls in a bag. Wow. If I’m ever here long-term and I don’t wanna spend money in restaurants, I know where to go. 

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In the evening, I went to my first proper networking event, 106miles. I felt pretty awkward at first, everyone was already chatting in groups. I just took a nametag, wrote “Winnie. UI designer from Singapore” and I thought I’ll just leave it to the universe to bring me people. Lol. I stood at a corner and indeed, there were quite a few people looking for designers…or they were just curious about Singapore. I just wish everyone had bigger nametags so we all know what we’re looking for. 

To be honest though, I didn’t go to these events because I wanted to be hired or something. I think it is a good way to get immersed in the scene and just listen to everyone’s stories. Or pitch. I met a couple of really nice people who offered me help if I ever got into trouble here. The end of the night, I met someone who worked a few years in Singapore and even offered me a ride home in his very cute red jeep. 

You really don’t know what to expect and that is the best part of it.

So I have no idea what I want to happen or what I intend to do here. All I know is I am keeping an open mind and hoping to go entirely with the flow. I don’t think I’ve been hustling so hard for as long as I remember. And you know what, fighting really intensely for what you want or hope for feels really, really good.

 

It makes me feel alive.

day 4 – rest.

I’m at The Summit (http://www.thesummit-sf.com/) now co-working and I am having trouble sitting straight. Sigh.

Anyway, I didn’t do much yesterday. I went out for lunch at a Thai restaurant called Chilli Cha Cha 2 and that’s about it.

(If you want to read about SF you can stop here now. This entire post is about my personal feelings)

I had an amazing day in another sense though. I practically slept the entire day. I woke up about 3ish am, felt sleepy about noon, went to nap, woke up about 3pm, had lunch, went back, slept again at 5pm – till this morning 6am. 

In the middle of it all I also had diarrhoea. 

The last time I slept so much and had diarrhoea, it was at Palawan, Phillipines. Then, it was expected at that place as the owner told me that my body would detox naturally – we ate raw food everyday and the place was surrounded in nature.

I wonder if my body went into auto-healing mode again. I mean, SF is a city still, but I stay a distance away from the city center, and seriously, compared to Singapore, it is really sparse. The only time I saw tons of people was when fans were leaving a Giants game.

Energetically I feel really good being here. The energy here feels a lot cleaner. If you know what I mean.

I usually take at least 30 mins to a couple hours just to fall asleep, not to mention if I wake up in between it is also difficult for me to get back to sleep, so to be able to sleep for the entire day…wow.

That’s why I think it is interesting to journal my thoughts and feelings everyday. I’ll be able to look back at the entire journey and see if there’s any meaningful pattern.

So far, I really feel like I am *meant* to be here. I had a session with a intuitive reader a couple of months back, I told him about my health issues….he said it feels like, if I make my trip to SF, all my issues will fade away. Even the eternal idealist in me was skeptical.

I don’t know. It could be the initial euphoria of discovering a new place. Let’s check back in a couple of weeks time. 🙂

Ironically, I signed up with SF Night Owls before coming here and I was pretty excited about it. A co-working session for night owls! But for the past few nights, I can’t even make it past 10pm, much less 2am. Hmm.

I had an interesting debate with a friend on Twitter a couple of nights ago. I sympathise with people who’re following the both of us, they’ll probably wake up to their timeline flooded with tweets from both of us. Basically, I tweeted that I was feeling very blessed while walking on the streets of SF. He asked why I can’t feel the same in Singapore.

I replied that Singapore makes me feel anxious, claustrophobic and stressed out. I mean, just look at the people, man. You don’t have to be sensitive to energy to sense that the majority of the population in Singapore is essentially walking-dead.

He felt that I have a virtual prison in my head and it wouldn’t matter where I go.

I do have a prison in my head. That, I don’t deny. 

I have no idea whether I’ll carry this prison with me for the rest of my life, wherever I go. But if travelling somewhere else makes me feel happier, even for a few days, why not? In life, all we can do is to capture the sweet, fleeting, transient moments. Do I sit still trying to change the way I think or do I move along hoping that my thoughts will organically shift?

The thing is, I wouldn’t really know the answer because I never had the chance to live elsewhere for an extended period of time. It can very well be that my birth country really makes me feel sick and depressed. It was already difficult trying have some quality of life and now with standards of living having doubled in the past few years, I feel like I have to sell my ass in order to survive. That is *just* the financial aspect of things. I haven’t even started about the culture….

I don’t like being surrounded by people and tall buildings everywhere I go. I don’t like that it is impossible to not bump into people while walking on the streets. I don’t like that everything seems so packaged. I don’t like having to spend my entire life trying to afford a 500 sq ft apartment. 

If I have to sign up for a 30 year loan, it may as well be a proper HOUSE with LAND. It doesn’t have to be SF. It can be in some ulu state at some ulu country. I don’t care. I just don’t care for the supposed perks of living in Singapore. If not for my family….I’ll be out in a split second.

It feels great to be in a place whereby you see the light in people’s eyes. Whether it was a waitress at a diner, or a passenger on the bus, or just people walking on the streets. It feels great to be in a place where individuality is celebrated. It feels great to be in a place where strangers smile at you, open doors for you, say their thank yous and sorrys.

It feels great to be in a place that I can feel at home. For once, I am not sticking out like a sore thumb.

I….never felt like I belonged in Singapore.

You can say that people in the states are racist, so far I haven’t encountered unpleasant treatment because of my race, but I can confidently tell you Singapore is not less racist. It just so happens that the chinese form the majority of the population so we are not subjected to discrimination. That doesn’t mean the chinese don’t discriminate other races. Or prefer certain races. Or worship certain races. We don’t kill people because of their races, but still, it doesn’t make us less racist.

I like seeing blue skies in SF. I like that the man beside me now offered to share his electrical power with another stranger. I like walking randomly around the streets discovering quaint little shops like this one:

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I like having 1000 meetups to choose from every week. I like the huge cafes with high ceilings: 

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I don’t mean to rant about Singapore. I think having spent 95% of my life in my home country, I deserve to have a life elsewhere. Or contemplate settling down elsewhere. I don’t want to see it as a marriage of convenience. Just because it is there, doesn’t mean I have to stay in it. If one day I were to choose to stay, it would be because I love the country, not because it is convenient.

day 3 – feeling blessed

I have no idea why but again I became really sleepy at 9ish last night and I woke up this morning like 3ish am, near 4. I had a nightmare that woke me up though, it was pretty scary – hair suffocating my face (ironic considering Ihave not much hair now). It was so vivid that I woke up and slept for another couple of hours with the lights on. Haven’t slept with the lights on for a long, long while.

Anyway, I had another touristy day. It started with a brunch with a couple of friends from Singapore. I went to http://www.delanceystreetfoundation.org/ which seems to be some kind of a sign. @ruiwen told me about it when I met him on saturday, then @minxuan mentioned it again on a IM conversation later, and coincidentally, the friend that I had to meet arranged to meet me there for brunch. 3 times in the same day. Wow.

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It is such a great concept – reforming ex-convicts & troubled people by hiring them to do stuff as well as mentor new people coming into the programme. I can imagine how it feels like to be contributing meaningfully to something on a continued basis. I felt really emotionally while I was there, I observed every staff I could get my eyes on – what is their story? I see strength in their eyes, them being there is already a testament of their determination. 

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We said we were going to take ex-convicts and ex-addicts and teach them to be teachers, general contractors, and truck drivers. They said it couldn’t be done. We said we were going to take 250 people who had never worked and had no skills and teach them to build a 400,000 square foot complex as our new home on the waterfront. They said it couldn’t be done. We said we were going to partner with colleges and get people who started out functionally illiterate to achieve bachelor of arts degrees. They said it couldn’t be done. We said we were going to run successful restaurants, moving companies, furniture making, and cafés and bookstores without any professional help. They said it couldn’t be done. We said we were going to do all this with no staff, no government funding, and no professionals. They laughed and said it couldn’t be done.

Wow. How powerful is that. 

I wished I could actually take a tour in the facility and speak to the people inside. But I honestly have no courage, yet. I don’t want to be asking the wrong questions or implying the wrong feelings. For now, I am just satisfied with having food and coffee there.

I was near the sea and I thought I should do the next touristy thing that came to my mind – Fisherman’s wharf. Having been to other touristy attractions elsewhere, I was skeptical. I don’t typically enjoy being in tourist spots, I like being in local neighbourhoods but hey, I always tell people you can’t go to Australia and not see a kangaroo or a koala. So how can I be at SF and not experience the wharf?

I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the assortment of shops at pier 39, such as these:

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And I was very, very enthralled by the Sea Lions. I was wondering if they’re like put there in captivity for a tourist attraction (like how Singapore jails dolphins and exotic animals) but surprisingly they’re there by nature. The community felt so strongly about them that they sacrificed docking areas to let them just be there.

That was not all. Again, I became fascinated by the story of Pier 39. You could see literature such at these (compare the headline with the quote I mentioned above):

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Double wow. Similar messages in two different places in one day. I even tried a fortune telling machine and that was my ticket (specially for Julia):

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I just feel like the stars are in perfect alignment, if you know what I mean. Everything is so synchronistic that I am in constant awe by just being here.

Last but not least, I really like seeing this:

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and this:

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To be honest, I usually hate uploading pictures when I blog but words do not do enough justice.

The entire day, I felt what the chinese say: ???????????????
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OMG. Sea Lions!

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Day 2 @ SF – Life is all about the experiences

I had a really good day as a tourist yesterday. I mentioned that I woke up at 7ish am. Which is really unlike me. 

I grabbed breakfast at a Yelp-recommended old-style diner:

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Then, I did the all-geeks-must-do-while travelling-thing which is to grab a SIM card. I eventually ended up with T-mobile, they had a $50/mth plan which includes data. Yes, it is on Edge for iphones (my friend seems to be able to access 4G on Android) but I don’t *need* fast blazing speeds. I just want to access my email, twitter & gmaps. AT&T had 3G, but it seems like you have to semi-hack it for it to work on a iphone + it is $25 bucks for 100mb. I just wanted to add that the service rendered by the T-mobile guy was one of the best I’ve ever had in my life. I guess Singapore’s service standards suck generally.

I also did the thing all Apple fans must do, visit the mothership – The Apple Store. It was okay, I played with the new MBAs for a while, wondering for a split second if I should impulse buy. The thought of having to carry an additional weight on top of what I already have deterred me though. Perhaps I’ll pick one up at Changi Airport on the way home. Maybe. If my money doesn’t run out. The legendary service provided by the apple store people is true. They’re as helpful and friendly as human beings can get.

I headed of to Westfield, wrote the first blog post you saw yesterday with Westfield’s free wifi. They have free wifi everywhere. Even on the streets. I saw this wifi network named “free the internet” that was unsecured. I didn’t intend to shop, but I saw this $10 maroon (my fave colour) top that I couldn’t resist, then I got another $8 hoodie jacket thing because it is so blardee cold. The highlight was getting a $21 accupressure chinese massage. That was surreal. 

I now know why it is easy to get into credit card debt here. Everywhere accepts VISA and it seems to take one second to process a transaction, compared to waiting-forever in Singapore. When I say everywhere, it really means everywhere. Including the massage booth, the street-side coffee kiosk, the old-style diners.

Every second, I couldn’t help keep thinking – life is all about experiences. This is an expensive experience I was very much unwilling to pay for, but I can tell you without a hesitation that it is all worth it. I just kept getting fed with new sights, new thoughts, new feelings. I know, if I really did end up going back penniless, I would still think it is all worth it.

When I was young, as a kid, I would often think that when I grow up, I would be a traveller. I would work a bit, save up for a trip, go on that trip, spend all my money, rinse and repeat. Of course, as age catches up, it seemed like it was impossible. How would I do that when there’s just so many bills to pay, so many responsibilities to keep? It seemed to me I cannot *not* save money. 

But somehow the entire act of saving money sucked the life out of me. I became unwilling to part with the money and in the process, I deprived myself of new experiences. It would be nice if I could do both – travel and save money. Yet again, I knew if I had to choose, I would rather live with tons of insecurity than to give up travelling.

I don’t think I can finish the entire world before I am dead and there’s just so much to catch up on.

I met @ruiwen and @ryanlou – both twitter friends and fellow geeks from Singapore. That was the best part of the day. We walked around, sat on the grass in the sunlight, talked about how un-Singapore SF is and how inspiring it is to be here.

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We talked about funding, education reform, startups in general, hobbies (or lack of) … @ryanlou rented this humongous jeep and brought us to the Golden Gate Bridge. We were at the viewing point for like 10 minutes because we almost died from the cold. But even for that 10 minutes it was all worth it.

So here I am, 9am in the morning writing this post. In case you wondered, again I had an early sleep last night and I woke up at 7am this morning. My chronic insomnia has magically disappeared. If this pattern is going to carry on for the next couple of months I am here, I really need to seriously consider moving out of Singapore.

 

day one @ SF

I thought I’ll keep a separate blog to sort of chronicle my thoughts and journey while being in SF. I used to journal almost everyday many years ago at livejournal – there is just something beautiful with archiving memories. We cannot trust out human mind to remember events.

Parting with my partner has always been difficult. So difficult that once upon a time I was convinced I would never go anywhere without her. Fortunately or unfortunately, an individual still has to be a separate identity from couplehood. There can never be a happy couple if half of a couple is unfulfilled in any way. I have realized that love is very much about separation as much as being together. Can love transcend time and space? If I believe in true love, why can’t my relationship survive the distance? I think being apart makes a relationship grow, if only both parties are on the same wavelength. You grow and learn separately, then come together to share your experiences. Imagine doing everything with your partner. There can only be one set of experiences instead of two.

I shed tears on my way to the airport, but I knew I’ll be fine. I have spent a month away in Thailand last year, another month in the Philippines. It usually takes me just one day to adjust. I thrive in new environments. Seriously. Each time I visit a new place, I know I am meant to do this. The self-knowledge is so strong that I wonder why I bother trying to hard to fit into convention. Why do I allow myself to be moulded into someone I am not. Why do I allow society to lay it’s selfish expectations on me. I feel the most alive when I am travelling. Therefore I know I cannot ‘settle’ somewhere, not in my home country or anywhere. I was born to be a nomad. San Francisco serves multiple purposes for me. I wanted to get out of Sngapore. I needed to be somewhere full of energy. Career-wise it would do me good to be in the motherland of tech. It would be nice to check out alternative therapy and healing as well. Of course, being in the gay capital of the world is just the icing on the cake. It seemed like a perfect place for me, but I didn’t want to expect anything in case I got disappointed. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t the place I thought it to be. Honestly, anywhere out of Singapore is a relief.

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Stepping into SF, I realized what feels wrong about Singapore. There is just so much space in SF. Even in the city. Singapore is very claustrophobic. People, cars, buildings cover every inch of the city-state. Fill that in with stressed-out, anxious, materialistic people – that will be my version of hell.

I have no idea why I am born and bred in Singpore and yet I feel like this is the exact place that I will never belong. Never felt like I belonged when I was a kid, I feel even more alienated now. I just don’t like the energy, I am curious if my physical health problems will evaporate as I continue my stay here. For the first time in a long time. I slept at 11ish pm last night, I didn’t have to roll an hour in bed before falling asleep and I woke up at 7am this morning. Of course, it may be fatigue due to ‘jet lag’. Let’s see. One thing has been pretty consistent. Each time I am out of Singapore, my insomnia seems to de-exist. If we are essentially all made of energy, it is not too far-fetched to think that I can be affected in a place full of anxiety isn’t it?

I napped for the entire after noon once I arrived in my AirBNB apartment. I slept in my entire flight too, apart from meal times.

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I love inflight meals. They are so comforting. I woke up 7ish pm in the evening, tried to get a sim card for my iPhone but the shops were closed. The shops generally close pretty early. I went to Union Sq hoping to be able to walk around a bit more.

Suddenly it occured to me – I wonder what these Amercians think when they visit Orchard Road in Singapore. Or shopping areas in Asian cities like Hongkong or Japan. I couldn’t really withstand the cold at night. I ordered my first coffee from Starbucks. $2.90 for a tall cap. Went grocery shopping at Walgreens. They have negative ionized drinking water. Quite cool. Multi-vits cost 1/5 of the price in Singapore. Bens and Jerrys are at least half price.

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My first meal was at a thai noodle place ironically. I was at Union Sq and I wanted somewhere cheap so I used Yelp. I ended up at some place called King of Thai noodle or something along that line. Had herbal duck noodle but it was a little too oily and sweet. The portion was gigantic. I think I am going to be wasting a lot of food n this trip.