Tuesday, November 18, 2014

15 NOV '14


While these emotions are still raw, I thought it would be good to document all my thoughts and beautiful memories here. I started out with not having any plans for my birthday but, as it turned out, I am a very fortunate child (or rather young adult)... blessed with thoughtful and selfless family members, boyfriend, best friends, classmates and friends. 

Not only did they remember the day that marked the beginning of my existence (in the midst of the all these crazy assignments deadline, exams revision), they took out their valuable time to plan a mini celebration for yours truly.

(Honestly, the photos and videos taken aren't of the best quality because I was trying to focus more on immersing myself in the moment rather than taking perfect visuals. And I think by doing that, I actually lived my birthday.)

So, let's start with the penultimate day before 15 Nov '14. 

Pomelo Fashion got me birthday-ready with lotsa birthday goodies. As we all know, the e-commerce market is already so so saturated with new blog-shops popping up each day. Thus, its only essential to strive to stand out in a crowded room by offering something different. For Pomelo, I'd say their X-factor is the team leading the brand. 

While the quality of their products are superb (because they're all manufactured in Korea), what impressed me most was meeting Pomelo's founder in Bangkok during the Bangkok International Fashion Week. He, yes he, was so humble. Due to our tight schedule, I had difficulty finding the time to pop by the Pomelo office to meet him. So, he instead booked a suite over at our hotel, Pullman G, brought over all the clothes and welcomed all the other influencers over warmly. 

When I got back, I met Pomelo's SG team and indeed, the people driving this brand are all very lovely and I think their work ethics really shines through. Hop over to their website, see if you like anything and experience what it's like shopping with Pomelo yourself!
Pictured: my visionary boyfriend, afraid that his birthday parcel and letter wouldn't reach me in time. He was way ahead of schedule and yes, thanks to his foresight, I received them on time. He, despite the distance, put in so much effort for this first birthday we celebrated together. 

"That's not all, babe" - on the morning of my birthday, I was greeted by a very beautiful bouquet of whites and purples. Our favourites in a bundle. The flower wasn't all, he gave me something which I think is the most practical and romantic gift of all time: an Asos Gift Voucher. Some people may be uncomfortable at the thought of blatant gifting of money and may think that it's rude. This is the sweetest alternative to it and I absolutely love it. It goes to show how much he knows me, where I shop and what I like. To have guys pick out what you like for you is a feat, and you may not even like what they get, so this is a total win-win. 
And yes, baby, I'll look beautiful for you.
(Yi Ming: OMG why the hell did I use so many "Hehe"s.)

So internet friends, this is Rachel! Meet the pleasant Rachel who's a reader turned friend! We caught a screening Interstellar together on the night before my birthday. I really appreciate the effort she took in asking me out; as someone who is not good at initiating such things, I am very appreciative of people who do. 

Thank you so much for the planner, Rach! I'd definitely utilise it! Can't wait!!

When I got home, I found three little pinks post-its at prime places which I frequent at home: the door, the toilet and my bed. My mom pasted them up before she went to bed because I got home too late and she wanted to wish me personally. How cute!!! She's the best la, really the best.

Here's a mini summary of my birthday. I wish I had more videos to show but like I've said earlier on, I'd rather be living in the moments. I woke up considerably late at 12-plus in the noon and I immediately Skyped Yi Ming while opening the letter and parcel he sent over. 
Ok, have fun watching and seeing me bare it all with my #iwokeuplikethis face.

High on SPY in the day. SPY's alcohol content is only 5% lol.
Wanz, Chingz, Jus and Jerm- I know you guys are not into cheesy shit and thus may not appreciate a  long ass corny message so I'll make it short. Thank you so much for everything you guys have done amidst the titanic load of school assignments. I'm so very thankful to have received so much from y'all despite us knowing each other only for a few months. 

Thank you, my bunch of emotional minimalists.
This. My best friends got me to do a Time Capsule for the 2019 Irina. It was the hardest thing to do that day. The entire time I was just so afraid about all that might happen and all that might not happen in 5 years time. Having to pen my thoughts down makes the time span of 5 years more concrete. I never liked thinking about the unknown i.e. future. Hence, it really wasn't easy at all.

Not only were my best friends were part of it, Yi Ming and my other friends were too. It's common knowledge that platonic relationships tend to weather storms better than romantic ones. And I thought..... what if someone who holds such significance in my life now fades away future? In this case, let's just be clear since it's already obvious. If Yi Ming and I couldn't make it, having to open this box in 5 years time might bring back unwanted memories. But at the same time, I'm curious of the content written inside... ugh do you get my dilemma???

It was tough but I finished it anyway. And talking Yi Ming at the end of the day helped giving me lots of comfort. Hoho revealed how Yi Ming was sad as well doing this activity as he hopes to be the one opening the box with me in 2019.

In the box: My message to 2019 Irina, friends and Yi Ming's messages to 2019 Irina, a list of what 2014 Irina is like, 2014 photos, 2014 dress, party popper (useful in 2019 when we open the box)... THAT'S IT.

My mom texted me the next morning: "I was thinking about it when you were doing the box with your friends. In 5 years time, I'm scared that you'd be married and that I'd be left alone."

Sigh... this activity gave me so much feels, it ain't even funny.

Thank you guys, all of you, Hoho, Trey, Vivian and Shamo, for coming all the way to my place to make my day even better than what it was already. Thank you for loving life and infecting every bit of my life with all of your love. We have come a long way since and forward is the only way to go. Friends are the family members you choose and you guys are, without a trace of doubt, one of the best decisions I've made in my life thus far.
As seen in video, we decided to celebrate our birthdays together when the clock struck midnight. Hoho's birthday falls on the 16th. What a lovely coincidence, isn't it.
Hoho, you're big girl now! Happy 21st. I couldn't be prouder of who you are becoming. I am proud of how strong you've been and the visible progress you've made in the pursuit of self-discovery. I am really very happy for you. You've no idea what a proud mama I am, knowing what a great time you had spending your birthday with family. And guess what? I know it might be too early to say but I think, Hoho's back *winks*. I love you, buddy!


OKOK ONE MORE THING BEFORE I FORGET: Thank you to all the friends who've texted. Omg, I wanna hang out with each and everyone of you so badly soon. Asides from my physical friends, thanks to all Internet friends who emailed me with lovely lovely birthday wishes!!!! I promise to get back to them soon. I've yet to even reply the text messages sent to me hahaha I'm really terrible at this. SOON AFTER MY PRESENTATIONS ON WED OK?

Last but not least, thank you sweetheart for simply, 
e v e r y t h i n g




I've so much to be grateful for.
On the 15th Nov, I learnt to love life more than I've ever had before. 




Thursday, November 13, 2014

BEFORE I DO MY WORK



Hi, guys. Irina is back!

I hope I'm still welcomed here. After witnessing the enthusiastic welcome you guys gave to Yi Ming for his first blog crashing entry, I might be jealous ha ha...... On a serious note, I am very thankful for how nice you guys are to him. Really, what a wonderful bunch you guys are.


I don't feel like I'm turning 23. With school and so many other things ongoing in my life, I am not really slowing down to think about my birthday at all. This year, will be just another mundane year. Irina is not throwing a party. Irina is not making it big. Irina will be chilling

Came across this quote on tumblr yesterday,

"From 18 to 22, you meet a lot of temporary people."

IF. Let's just say, if it's true, I guess that brings me superficial comfort about growing older in a day's time. Honestly, I wouldn't say everyone I've met from 18 till now are pretentious and horrible. No. I've met some really nice people whom I wouldn't mind having in my life till I am old and grey. 

However, I do agree that it's a lot harder to establish real connection these days. People are a lot more guarded. Myself included. The process of getting to know someone is a lot more tedious and exhausting when you have to constantly second guess the intention of another, to analyse if they're sincere or simply, motive-driven. 

That aside, though a no-plans birthday....... I do look forward to what December has in store!!! Not only that Yi Ming is coming home on 7 December, but we're thinking of a Christmas party together!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just thought it'd be nice to have our close friends over to celebrate the season of giving together. It's not entirely confirmed but I look forward to it with all my heart.

Besides that, to welcome this well-deserving December school break, Yi Ming and I will be travelling to Vietnam and Taiwan!!!!!!! If you guys have been there before or best, if you're local, please don't be shy to drop me an email or leave a comment on places you think we should visit. It'd be nice to trade traveling tips online :-)

Hopefully, I will be disciplined enough to film a Vietnam and Taiwan vlog! Haven't been engaging with you as much as before, but I'll try! OK. I shan't stop here and carry on with my never-ending assignments. 

Have a blast this week! 
Go out, have fun and get crazy on my behalf yeah? Live life!




LOVE LIKE LOCKED HORNS, LOVE LIKE FALLING SNOW




Oh. Where do I, where should I, begin?

I think that I'd like to start by thanking everyone who took moments away from their precious day to read my previous post. It does not matter if you loved it or hated it; it was simply an expression of the heart and I accept with grace both well-wishes and criticisms. 

This isn't going to be a long post. Just some afterthoughts now that the air has cleared, the dust has settled. 

Afterthought 1: Its slightly uncomfortable.

Honestly, I had no idea the article would explode to such a degree. While I thank you all for sharing it and wishing us the best (or the worst), it really fills us with strength. However, it's slightly disconcerting to have the people cheering for us right now- that was not really part of the plan. It was never really in the grand design's blueprint to have people rooting for us and the weight of society's expectations looming heavily on our relationship. Honestly, we are making it up as we go along and each day holds new surprises and challenged. Which brings me to...

Afterthought 2: We are not an "ideal" couple.

Not by any means, not by any measure. We fight, we say things to each other that we regret immediately as they leave the tip of our tongues and we hurt. To all those currently facing LDR with us, please keep in mind that it is tough.


"The road is long, we carry on, try to have fun in the mean time."

To all those going through what we are going through now, please do not think that an LDR can be all love and smooth-sailing. If that's the impression my post gave you, I'm sorry. It's tough and gruelling and it's definitely not meant to be easy. You'll miss the person. You'll quarrel because you both miss each other and neither of you are willing to set aside your fucking pride long enough to be the first to admit it. And you'll wish it could be different. You'll wish you could have a "perfect" LDR. But there's no such thing as that. Irina and I definitely don't have that, but we make do with what we have. So make do with what we have and in times of doubt, don't use other relationships as a yardstick to judge how your LDR is going; it will only make you bitter and things more difficult. Just remember that all things come to an end. The eight hour time gap, where she's waking up and I'm just falling asleep, with one day close as my plane finally crests the Singapore horizon. Be strong, if not for yourself, but for your partner. 

Busy with work but just had to clarify things,
Yi Ming

P.S Greetings from us!






Sunday, October 26, 2014

SUCK IT AND SEE



I’m not sure how to begin; I’m pretty new here. I’m hazarding a guess that starting off with some reasons as to why I, and not Irina, am the one writing this entry would be a good start.

This is a response to Irina’s blogpost about second love. She is my second love as well, which is pretty much a sweet slice of serendipity (this is my favourite word in the world, FYI) when I think about it. Truth be told, I wish she was my first love, because that would mean that up till this point, my love life would pretty much have been clean, cool and smooth sailing. C'est la vie.

First, maybe some background information about me (although not too much, this isn’t a personal expository article). I’m 21 and thus, two whole calendars behind Irina. The age doesn’t bug me at all though. At the start, dating an older woman can be an entirely scary prospect and I still remember being gripped by an overwhelming anxiety each time I opened my mouth to speak to her. 

“What if she thinks I’m a small boy? Is my world-view mature enough to capture her attention or is it going to bore her to tears?”

But as time wore on, things just began to flow naturally. Nowadays, I don’t even really have to care or think about what I say to her. Nonsense just streams from my mouth and I don’t have to filter my thoughts. The outcome is pure bliss. It’s good to see your partner for what they truly are and not as a number. To be completely honest? It’s also pretty fantastic dating an older woman. She’s in control, she’s mature enough and she’s strong— things I didn’t suspect I would find myself attracted to at first but which now I find irresistible components of the her magnetism that grip me and refuse to let go. 

(Funny digression - I’m writing this while Facetime-audioing Irina and she assumes that my fervent typing was me summing up my economics notes. Far from the fact, love — I never type so purposefully unless its about a topic I’m really passionate about: in this case, You.) (I am passionate about economics though. Hm.) 

Right now, I am studying in Oxford University and doing Economics and Management. I one day hope to sell my soul for money (I’ve said this joke so many times that I’m beginning to suspect there’s some truth underlying the punchline). I am exactly 10924.916 KM away from her, which sucks most of the time. Well, all the time. But its good because she keeps me sane, stable and satisfied with what my lot in life is right now. The workload is abysmally tough, the weather cold and without her, I think I would be pretty depressed right now. But the prospect of seeing her again in exactly 42 days (at the time of this writing), of coming home after class each day, calling her up and finally hearing her gentle voice is what has been getting me through these cold days and colder nights. 

She has this way…. with words. Her words are pretty simple (she complains that I’m unnecessarily pretentious with my choice of vocabulary) but yet they have a… calming effect. She chooses the right words at the right time. She knows exactly what to say when my mood dips to cheer me up. She also doesn’t hesitate to scold some sense into me when I’m behaving like a brat, which makes her a truly impeccable girlfriend (I assure you, there’s not a single trace of sarcasm there. If you have a girlfriend who knows how to discipline you and in the process make you realise you’re actually quite the little shit, she’s a keeper). So yeah, I get to hear from her almost daily. If you look at the math, sound travels at 340.29 m/s. 


So, 10924.916 KM isn’t that far after all. 

So steering this back on track, what’s second love like? It makes everything right. It closes the wounds you’ve had inside of you. It makes you feel like you are worth the love that you had previously thought you weren’t deserving of. Recently, I’ve learned an axiom of life from a friend here in Oxford, and her words made quite a lot of sense:

“There’s a lot of reason to question things in life. Like, you just wake up and realise, why am I? There’s a lot of things that we cant understand as of yet and probably will never understand. The only probable truth in life is Love.”

I paraphrase of course.

So yes, second love is better than the first. Falling in love the first time is easy. But giving it away to someone again, after the first heartbreak, is something that requires a conscious decision. It takes a lot of courage and it requires you to trust the person. Before love comes trust. You know what it is like to be crushed and smashed and ground into an interminable oblivion. You trust that this person, as you place your trembling heart in her hand, will handle it with the utmost care and delicacy. That she’ll hold it both tightly and gently at the same time—she won’t let you fall and she won’t hurt you. That she understands the profundity of the exchange that is taking place. 

I’m not religious (I try to be but haven’t found the right time nor place), but falling for a second time has taught me that God’s greatest gift to us is our ability to love. Love is powerful; it is the thread that holds the entire tapestry of our being. Thus, something so sacred must surely be the divine handiwork of some celestial being. That means that no one else has the ability, means or right to take it away from us. This gift is ours and ours alone and we will never lose our ability to exercise our love. It is our choice. We and we alone make our own decision to love. I seriously doubted my capacity to love anyone again after my first breakup, but Irina stirs something deep inside me. I took the plunge, and I am the happiest man in the world right now (except when I’m drowning in a 200 page management reading list) because of that. 

I love Irina and I wish she was my first love. I would have loved (am I overusing this word? My essay tutor told us to cut down on repetition, maybe I should thesaurus it. But then agin, there’s no substitute for a word that’s both a beautiful noun and verb) to discover what holding hands, having a first kiss, falling asleep together and so much more felt like with Irina. But the what's past has past and there’s no point looking back when the road ahead is long and the scenery beautiful. The future is bright, especially with her by my side. 

42 more days. Fall be kind.

Yi Ming.







Tuesday, October 21, 2014

FOOD FOR THOUGHT ON TUESDAY



I saw this on tumblr and I thought, it's magically on point. 
This is an old poem by Neruda, and one of the first lines goes like, 
"Love is so short, forgetting is so long."




Friday, October 17, 2014

SUBSEQUENT LOVE MIGHT JUST BE BETTER THAN PREVIOUS


So how do I do this again? How do I start an entry without sounding too abrupt?

Maybe for starters..... a short confirmation that Irina is still Irina. She still stands by the principles she believes in. Bruised with life experiences from the past month(s), her views might be much broader now with more varied perspectives.

And before I fill you guys with updates, I just have to point out how incredible you guys truly are. I'm more than impressed by how patient you guys have been, so so understanding and supportive with my hiatus. I'm actually proud that my readers embody such attractive qualities. Simply brilliant human species. Thank you.


Yoohoo, I'm Attached!



Haha. Yes. Unexpected. This news shouldn't be new to you if you've been following my updates on Instagram and read the previous entry. I just want to make it official and thought it'd be nice to share this with y'all. Ain't too sure what to disclose at the moment and where to start, so let's just talk about the elephant in the room: my new relationship status. I've been penning my thoughts here since forever; significantly more personal from the time I found my first love to the time it ended. And here's to second love.


Many say second love triumphs the first. I can't vouch for that yet, but I can see why it can be true. Disclaimer: I'm not imposing my reflections on you guys nor am I implying that the assumptions I made are applicable to everyone but I'm just trying to make a point that if I, the smashed, the tragically imperfect and the skeptic at love could have another go at it again after the damage I experienced from previous relationship, second love could make you feel like anything is in fact, possible. 

It feels a lot more real, a lot less pretentious. I'm not insinuating that it was previously but you know how girls (and guys too!!) are like with the ideals they have in their head. A lot of time guys and girls unknowingly drown each other with their own set of unrealistic expectations and the relationship evolves to become.... something else. Going back to real, I had the thought of keeping this relationship entirely to myself without broadcasting it to the world. If you've been a long-time Irina reader, you'd have realised how much I've cut down on the mushy posts. I thought what potentially spurred me on previously could be the pressure from people. "If they think we can make it, maybe we can and we should stay together" without realising human tendency in comparing their insides to people's outsides. What's on social media is merely a choice of depiction. Now, without your head waaaay up in the air after having a better understanding of what fits in a relationship, you stay rooted and clearer - a lot more aware and in control of the situation and yourself. 


Second love will test your tolerance for change. It feels a little like getting onto bicycle after not riding for years. You'd feel rather shaky and very unsure of your own ability. After all, you were told that you were the defective one in the relationship. How should/would you react to this new pair of hands that's gonna keep you safe? Would the slight differences matter or are they too jarring for your comfort? The size of the palm. The lines on the palm. The texture of the skin. The temperature of the hand. The intensity of the grip. Loving an unfamiliar body might leave you feeling disorientated for a while. Aaaaaaaaand of course, you'd get over it. Loving someone is like riding bicycle; a skill you'll never forget. You'll eventually learn and get used to the quirks of the other and try to embrace them all. Slowly, you'd realise how amazing you are to be so accepting towards the different people you love and loved at the various phases of your life and how that's a reflection of your personal growth. 


He's over at UK pursuing his degree now. I'm dealing with something I never thought I would. I guess that's what love does. It pushes boundaries, and that includes getting you waaay out of your comfort zone. I wouldn't say long distance relationships are the best thing ever but you learn a few new things besides getting better with Skype or FaceTime features. You learn how to fight. Fights where you can't slam the door or tune the other person out or deal with it later - you've to communicate effectively because all you've got is silence on the other end that stretches into sorrys. Through the heartbreaking process, you will also learn to fight back the tears during late night webcam sessions because all you can think about is the countdown that only seems to get longer with time. 


What I am trying to get at is ultimately, your subsequent love might just be better than the previous. It doesn't matter what's lost; what matters is how brave you're to have had love and able to love again after the heartbreak. Others do not define your ability to love. You, only you do. 
And that's a pretty powerful thing. 


7th December. 
Can't wait to see your face at the Arrival Hall.




Goodnight.