In with the old!

Monday, October 14, 2013

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This may sound terribly self-indulgent but one of my favourite things to hear is my mom asking me “Why are you so smart?” And the satisfying thing about it is that she says it due to all sorts of things - from me fixing some weird computer issue which really just required restarting to me scoring really well on some difficult exam. She shows no distinction over the small near skill-less tasks and the huge really mentally exhausting things. I suppose that now I’m all the way here, and my mom is all the way at home, I’m starting to get a little more sentimental over tiny things like these and I’m just missing the small bits of affirmation and encouragement she’d give me over the most insignificant of things.

When I headed to the British Museum a couple of days back with my friends, I thought of my mom who has always been my travel/museum buddy. We both have such an interest in history but a poor appreciation for so many of the finer things a museum would display; so going to museums with her is wonderful, because we’d slow down at the same exhibitions, and walk past the same ones which don’t catch our eye. Whenever we pass by exhibitions which display things I’ve read about before, I’d excitedly tell her some random fact and she’d say those words.. Why are you so smart?

Hahah, instant ego boost. Smile with tongue out When really, it has nothing to do with my intelligence (or lack thereof) and more to do with the chance that I had happened to stumble across that information before. Here, when I tell people I wanna go to the museum, I get greeted with a ‘why are you so boring?’ instead. Smile with tongue out

Still, I was blessed enough to have a group of people be interested in heading to the museum with me on Saturday. Open-mouthed smile 

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Leon, Tummy, Hou Yi, En Leang.

The thing about going out in groups without a tripod is that not everyone gets to be a in a group photo at once. So one pops out and the other runs in. Smile with tongue out 

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WITH MOIIII! Open-mouthed smile 

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The museum is barely a 10 minute walk from where we stay so it was really convenient! Entrance is free as well so it was a pretty good (and cheap) way to spend an afternoon. Open-mouthed smile

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By the entrance of the museum.

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What a mockery LOL. Thanks, thanks a lot. Smile with tongue out 

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Leon!

This may sound extremely creepy but I love poking people’s dimples! Don’t you just wanna press your finger into that facial indentation!?!?!?

Ahem.

Creepiness aside, the museum itself was massive! But sensitive to the needs of weak-kneed folks like myself, it provides chairs for people to carry around and use in the museum.

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LOL.

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LOL.

We didn’t have much time so chose to explore the Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Middle Ages section.

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What a bizzare exhibition. Smile with tongue out

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We were all so much more fascinated by how they managed to transport the whole thing into the museum than the exhibitions themselves.

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The nation’s future leaders, ladies and gentlemen.

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With a mini model of the Parthenon.

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One of the metopes on display. This one tells a pretty cool story because although it’s just one image, it shows how the centaur is close to defeating the (naked) man on the ground. But, the man has a stone in his left hand which could potentially change the results of this fight. Ooooooooo.

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So much violence! Sad smile

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A beautiful sculpture of Aphrodite (or Venus, according to the Greeks). Look at the flowing cloth around her waist. How amazing must the sculptor be to turn something so solid into something that looks so fluid.

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In Egypt, Tummy had to pick a fight with the Pharaoh and got dealt a punch by his massive fist.

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Hahahah. Hi. Open-mouthed smileLeaning against a graphite column from Egypt!

At the time we were there, there was a Japanese exhibition on how sex is depicted in their art. We aren’t members and thus couldn’t enter but I guess we got our own sexy exhibition to admire.. =/

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Hello, ladies.

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All in all, a good tourist-y day! I would probably go back there on an empty day just to join all the tours and take my own sweet time walking around. Dickens’ House Museum and the Foundling Museum are just a few minutes walk away from my hall as well, but these are pay per entry museums so I’d probably head there once I’m done with all of the free attractions. Smile with tongue out 

Till then, I leave you with an attractive picture of my friends and me.

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You love us! Winking smileDon’t we look like people you’d love to know? Smile with tongue out

PS: I’ve been having such a dilemma! If I go out with my umbrella to face the drizzling and strong winds, what if my umbrella spoils? But if I don’t.. what chance does my flimsy raincoat stand!? Decisions, decisions. What would you do?

Mr. Hyde Park.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

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When you stop to think about it, whether you’re sharing an umbrella in the rain with one of your best friends, or when you’re alone in your room trying your best to hang your Polaroids on the corkboard without piercing a hole through them, it’s near crazy how quickly one can get used to a new environment when forced to be on their own. I wouldn’t say adapt – not yet at least – but the fact that we’re already able to build up a routine with barely two weeks to our name in London surprises me.

It feels almost surreal being here - almost like a holiday and any moment now, I would have to pack up and head home to the sweltering humidity that is Malaysia. But the fact that I spend more and more time worrying about the lectures I’ve attended, the societies I want to join, and the best time to do my laundry, as opposed to how cold the weather is or how much cheaper that bag is here than at home just cements the reality of actually being here to study.. To become more educated, to be challenged, to learn.

I’ve only attended several lectures so far but already we are being constantly reminded, day in day out, of the challenges that await. Beginning each session about how fragile our mental states are and how the pastoral role of the university is fulfilled via the counselling rooms and Academic Advisors available seems to me a little more daunting than reassuring; why on earth are you telling us this on our first day? Do you want us to get a nervous breakdown??

To be honest, it’s true though. It’s true that being here doesn’t evoke the same pressures as being at home and I got that reminder in failing to make the team for a debate competition this weekend. It’s humbling and encouraging at the same time to know that there are so many of my peers that I can look up to yet frightening because I can’t help feeling like the most stupid person in class.

I spend my days like an average student, with a 20 minute walk to university after breakfast in the dining hall (more on International Hall soon), followed by hour long lectures which have so far been really interesting but filled with tonnes of reading! I walk back, have dinner, study a little, and the cycle repeats with a few alterations here and there. Weekends are spent like tourists, with picnics and museums whilst the weather still permits. When winter comes about, I foresee hours of hibernation in my fluffy socks and silk comforter, and if no one is watching, I might even wear gloves and my panda onesie.

But before we get carried away with imagining so much fluff, I must share a new found love affair I have with feeding birds. Prior to our arrival, I had already expressed my intentions on doing things here which I can’t quite do back home and feeding ducks was on the top of the list. I’m most certain that the opportunity to feed ducks back home is there, but sweating in a park in a temperate country isn’t as appealing as the trenchcoat-breadcrumb-slightwind effect here.

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The ugly duckling!

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The worst/best part about feeding them is that I’m slightly, possibly, mildly, quite terrified of them so I’d toss the crumbs of whatever I was feeding them with (mostly chocolate cookies that day) and watch them come closer then I’d take a step back. This would repeat till there’s a whole load of birds/ducks/swans from where I first originally stood till where I end up standing (which is usually about 8 steps away). Then I run away because I’m out of food and keep thinking they’d bite me. =/

We went to Hyde Park because the Malaysian Society organized a picnic for us to get to know each other better.

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LOL, you know my face very well already but here’s another introduction. Smile with tongue out 

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Whilst everyone stood and mingled, Squishy (pictured above with his mouth open wide) and I plopped down and feasted. Smile with tongue out 

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Us again!

DSC_0688Our non-Malaysian Malaysian Society member who was keen to learn more about us!

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I believe there’s a Singaporean in the above picture. Smile with tongue out 

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Hyde Park really is beautiful, with its green grass accompanied by a mirror of still water.

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Waaaaa. Red heart

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Henry and Tummy. Smile with tongue out Is one too tall, or is the other too short? Smile with tongue out 

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With some of the Malaysian girls this year! Spot the photobomb. Surprised smile

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Hello, Karti!

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En Leang got me to sit on the grass for a photo and in typical Malaysian style, within moments..

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Typical lah! Smile with tongue out 

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My knee looks bizzarely swollen here because in true Tiffany fashion, barely a week into my arrival, I had to fall and badly scrape my knee on the cobblestone streets. A walking disaster indeed. Crying face

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And here’s En Leang, which I’m sure you all know by now, who has been doing a pretty good job of taking most of my pictures here in the UK! Open-mouthed smile 

I’ve been going out a lot in anticipation of the significantly heavier workload that’s bound to come so tourist shots aplenty!

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Even walked to Kensington Gardens for a look at the Peter Pan statue. I’ve always loved Peter Pan (had a crush on the cartoon) and as I grew older, developed interest in J.M. Barrie’s life so it has always been a dream of mine to see this famous statue.

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Big Ben and Tiny Tiffany. (HAHAHAHA, okay no I just said that for the alliteration.)

It was quite a sight to behold at night though and for now, although I’ve been slowly getting into the rhythm of things, the city still manages to excite me and amaze me, and for that, I’m grateful.

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HEEEEHEEEEHEEEEE.

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Peace.

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