Tuesday, April 25, 2017

4/25/2017

"If it's meant to be, it will be."

The words that her cousin, Mia, constantly advised her with rang in her ears as she walked with the family members behind the van driving out of the funeral parlor. Victoria's eyes were rimmed red, but she trained herself to maintain her composure for her kin's sake as she remained silent. Looking at everyone in front and behind of her, all she could hear was them wailing at the premature loss of an upcoming doctor in their family.

She needed to stay strong, needed to keep the unit in unison in this grieving period.

"Isn't life unfair?" Mia loosened her hair with her fingers and rolled her eyes during happier moments with Victoria. "I've seen my fair share of relationships and friendships being torn like flimsy pieces of paper because one party played out the other."

Victoria raised an eyebrow. "And you're only what? Nineteen?"

Mia was one of the brightest youngsters of the entire clan, even more intelligent than Victoria, and bound for Cambridge to fulfill her ambition of becoming an oncology specialist. She desired to make an impact to the medical world by contributing to the continuing research for a cure to cancer after watching her sister's health debilitated from the illness. Balancing her intelligence was her cute beauty. She had round blue eyes that radiated warmth and cheekbones that illumined her elegance.

Three months to the dark day, she wanted to organize a separate farewell with her peers from high school and matriculation at different moments since they were flying to parts unknown and maintaining contact was tougher than first imagined. Her close mates from matriculation unanimously agreed to meet up at a serene family-owned cafe for a farewell lunch.

Just as she was leaving her client's workplace after a business appointment with her, Victoria caught sight of the stray dog digging with its paw and nuzzling something hidden in the bushes. Her years as a dog owner sharpened her knowledge and understanding of the canine friends; it heightened her curiosity and suspicions concurrently. She sneaked behind the dog and gaped at the gruesome discovery: a badly mangled and bloody body lying in the ditch with the head almost twisted off from the rest of the body.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

4/18/17

The dream began in medias res, where it was at a crowded bus stop with passengers headed in various directions. It wasn’t a disorderly crowd, but it wasn’t an organized one either. People were scattered around each other like a fight was about to ensue. The poor warden was at the front attempting to keep everyone under control. I missed mine because it was packed like a can of sardines and the bus conductor wasn’t accepting more passengers. I was also torn between saying adieu to the person I was with (his identity was undisclosed – something in me knew that it’s a guy with jet-black straight hair) and staying back with him. I unwillingly called off the conversation because it was getting late at night and I wanted to head home to crash.

The warden was able to fit all of us into the shuttle bus that arrived at the central station. It was at that place where we had to take the ones we were supposed to board earlier. I ran from the car park to the nearby stop to catch mine. I noticed that there was a lady with flowing locks skating in front of me while she held a Chinese lantern. When I surveyed my surroundings, the buildings were decorated with the same type of lanterns with geishas who guarded it like German Shepherds.

To say goodbye will be indicative of me parting ways with something or someone, none of which I’m sure now. The person’s identity throws my suspicions out of the whack because I initially thought it was one of my Adelaidean friends. My subconscious could, however, be hinting at a college friend or peer – the ones whom are pals, not acquaintances. The online interpretation also suggested that it means I’m moving on from the worries that have burdened me.

The scene where I was part of the crowd could be illustrative of my desire for some time out, according to the online interpretation. In reality, I wish that I can carve some time out and hide in a place that is far away from familiar places and people. I’ve grown tired of the mountain’s worth of mess that I have to handle and resolve.

The part where I’m surrounded by Chinese lanterns might be a signal that I’ll attain the peace that I’ve yearned for soon. In addition, it might also mean that I’ve found the light that will guide me out of this path of confusion and darkness. As of late, I’ve not been academically confident and felt that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, as I’ve insinuated in one of the previous posts.

In another dream, I dreamt that someone – an older-looking female driver – drove the car with me in the front passenger seat as we fled the scene during the onset of a hurricane. I remembered that we sealed the house windows with tape and wood and ensured that all the windows were shut before we left. We saw the hurricane lashing its fury on the roads as we drove on. It was quiet on the road with an aura of a ghost town. The winds picked up speed and we heard its desperate cries inside the car. One of our cell phones that were kept in the white three-tier drawers rang, but we ignored it. I didn’t want to reach out to the back and destroy the masking tape that sealed the drawers.

I’ve only one interpretation: I must’ve been watching or reading too much about the severity of Tropical Cyclone Debbie that recently caused damage in Queensland. An online interpretation gave me the definition along the lines of danger, rollercoaster emotions, and the feeling of helplessness.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

4/11/17

Start afresh?

A quick refresher?

When their conversation arrived at its natural end a couple of hours later, she embraced him with a hug that threw him aback. She bit her lip and closed her eyes, unwilling for the tears to betray her thoughts at this moment. She didn’t want him to leave yet it was for their own good if she remained out of Adelaide. He reciprocated with a harder squeeze as he realised that there was a chance he’d never see her again. His T-shirt was soiled at the shoulder area and he immediately released her from his grip, only to notice that her eyes were rimmed raw.

“Oh my God, Winnie.” He wiped the salty solution off her face. “Are you alright?”

She couldn’t look at him in the eye like how a guilty and nervous defendant would avoid facing the presiding judge.

“It’s me.” He turned her to face him. “It’s okay, you can tell me anything.”

“I’m sorry, Brendan. If we’re in another world, the circumstances may be different… and it wouldn’t be arduous for us.”

“Don’t, Winnie. Don’t feel bad. I should be the one to apologise. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there for you in times of need. With that being said, I hope that you could at least grant one of my wishes.”

“What is it?”

“Don’t lose contact with me ever - no matter what.”

Winnie nodded.



Brendan’s mind whizzed as he digested and reflected on Winnie’s confession in the privacy of his hotel room on Hay Street. He didn’t know where to begin. Half of what she said was eerily accurate. His life would always be in Adelaide - that was where his roots were. He never craved or imagined of moving interstate for anything. She was correct; it’d be unfair and selfish for him to ask her to ditch her life in Perth for him. It was evident in her body language and her approach that her support system was here. But he didn't want to lose her either. He couldn't envision a future without her. He longed for her to be the first person - apart from his family - to celebrate life’s special moments with him. He cherished the food explorations with her and enjoyed driving her around town during the semester breaks. To hear and see her laughing out loud was his greatest wish and there was nothing in the world he’d exchange that for. He wanted to keep her worries at bay whenever she was in his presence like two carefree souls sailing on a yacht on the Tasman Sea.

Give her some time, his brain whispered. Give yourself some time. If you two are meant to be, time will be the connecting factor.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I'm still here, but I'm hiding behind the curtains

I can’t, for the life of me, believe that my darling baby has slipped into a heat-induced coma. I don’t know what happened to my Sony Vaio, but it crashed when I wanted to tackle the final bits of my Politics of Law research proposal. Thank God I had the nerve to keep a copy in Dropbox and Google Drive – or you’ll see me bursting into tears.

Am I allowed to whine about the late nights spent on the workload? The required amount of time and dedication this semester is more than I initially expected, but I guess it is what it is. I can’t complain much because we’re all in the same boat, gasping for air while struggling to stay afloat like a fish above water. This is especially true for us students who’ve to tackle at least 2 3 hour tutorials for electives. Gone were the days when we could chill until Week 3 of the academic calendar before panicking for dear life. It feels like time has slipped through the cracks of our fingers and propelling us to tackle our fears faster than we would like to.

I should be peppering the final details for these two assignments (although one’s not due until the end of the month. I’m sweating in fear over this one because by the time I’m able to polish it, it’ll be a day before submission… and I like to leave the assignment to sleep for a week before I return with a fresh pair of eyes). I don’t usually stay awake past midnight yet I’m suffering from a serious case of procrastination. I know that somewhere in the depths of my heart, I’m able to unearth the determination to complete the assignments tonight, but I can’t form coherent sentences that will make sense to the lecturer when s/he grades it.



Amidst the boiling temperature of the pressure cooker, the three of us managed to catch up over waffles. Although the arranged location was hidden in one of the laneways, it wasn’t as arduous as I initially thought because of its famous neighbor … and we ran into each other en-route. There was a slight problem that we didn’t foresee: neither one of us expected that the clouds will draw for us a chilly, cocoa-inducing day when we agreed on a day.

Something happened midway during our meal and it set the three of us on a trail of laughter. While my sister managed to recover on time, I bit my tongue to keep myself from rolling on the floor in laughter. I saw the gleam in the good friend’s eyes that if we started laughing out loud, we’d be dead from the lack of breath. The good mood from our outing evaporated the moment my eyes caught the blinking stars in the night sky. It has left me with a heavy heart from time to time because of those twelve words: “So, we should lie on the lawns and watch the starry night.”

Bam.

Inasmuch as I want to burn this miniscule memory of my life, it’s all in the past and there’s no point in crying over spilt milk. I can only send my wishes to the wind and pray that it will deliver it to the intended recipients.



At the rate that I’m speeding on, I’ve to pray that the upcoming mid-semester break will provide something along the lines of a brief respite for me to catch up on sleep and backdated readings. I’m drowning under the pile of tutorial notes that I have to gather to assist me with the assignments (it’s another three, off-memory). It is also on this ground that I want to apologise for my continual absence in the blogosphere - academics have taken a large chunk of time and I'm taking the little breathing space that remained to clear the stress with a spatula.

Gosh, maybe I overestimated my capabilities. The reason why I said that is because I’m highly tempted to scream my lungs out into the pillow to mask the volume. Lord, please save my soul from the torments that I’ve placed myself in.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

3/14/17

Start afresh?

A quick refresher?

She was as serious as hell when she claimed that Coffee Club Harbour Town was quieter at this time of the day. Save for a couple of diners scattered inside and outside the coffeehouse, there wasn’t a crowd at the area. Not knowing what to do and not desiring to block the entrance, he waited at the corner of the coffeehouse.

“Hello, Brendan,” a voice behind him greeted.

Neither was it strong nor loud. It was coated with the right amount of warmth and friendliness yet he detected traces of caution in it. It was definitely her.

He turned at the familiar tone.

She donned a floral flair dress with a pair of matching brown wedges. Her shoulder-length hair was trimmed into a shorter bob. She glanced at him with a smile. “Winnie?”

“Let’s go inside. I’m not delivering your corpse, if you die from the heat, to Katrina.”

Ouch, the wounds from her sarcasm was deeper than that of a knife, he thought, but quickly recovered from it. Katrina must’ve stabbed her with such offence that it left Winnie with a sour tongue.

Winnie ensured that they were tucked away at the far end of Coffee Club, where it was quieter, cooler, and full of view, before she skated the surface while waiting for their coffee.

“I don’t mean to murder you with sarcasm, Brendan, but it’s in my blood now. It’s the only way that I can protect myself from people who bleed me dry for their benefit.” She was less standoffish with the traces of old Winnie resurfacing. “To receive your text that you’re in Perth all of a sudden definitely knocked me off. I didn’t know how to welcome or treat you now that we’ve been out of contact for almost half a year. The best way would be to retain the sarcasm while I observe you to see if you’ve changed or if you’re still the same Brendan Carrington that I know. So, tell me, why the long flight to nail me to the ground?”

“I needed to see you. No, let me correct that. I wanted to know the reasons behind your departure. I wanted to reason it out with you…,” he whispered, “and you’ve left hearts broken in its wake.”

She suppressed a smile and raised an eyebrow instead. That was so Brendan: honest, straight to the point, and refusing to beat around the bush. “I didn’t know I was sorely missed in Adelaide. But yes, I’ll spill the reasons like the rain.”

The barista came to deliver their coffees: a regular flat white for Winnie and an iced lemon tea for Brendan. If there was something that remained the same in her absence, it was Brendan’s habit before sinking into his cup of tea. She watched as he tore two satchels of sugar and dissolved it into the liquid with a quick stir.

“What?”

“It’s like when we always went out for a drink or two, you’d dump sugar inside your drink and comment that the amount of saccharine was perfect when you’ve arranged an appointment with diabetes.” Her face fell at the memory and she stared into her flat white. “I’m sorry for leaving.”

“Why did you have to leave then?”

“You and Katrina.”

Brendan’s eyes widened. “What?!”



Winnie sighed. “Brendan, are you naive or oblivious? You’re not a Sagittarius, so you shouldn’t be oblivious. You would’ve been stupid not to have noticed Katrina’s mischievous twinkle at you whenever she spoke. Or the fact that she glanced at you like a love struck puppy. Her eyes glared with such fury that it was capable of murder whenever you hugged me but not her. Also, only a fool couldn't see your preferential treatment towards me. If there’s one thing you haven’t known about the girl, she is observant - even for the finest detail. That’s what makes her a good debater and law student. She sees through the cracks and manipulates it to her advantage. Your eyes dilated with passion whenever you glanced at me. Your green eyes, while exotic, does not work in your favour in times like that. Katrina and I are able to get away easily because you can’t see our dilated eyes unless we’re under the sun. Your face could’ve brightened the somber Adelaidean winter whenever you showed up at my favourite places, the ones that Katrina didn’t know I love. Not to mention, your reaction whenever I laughed until I flushed with embarrassment… Should I continue?”

Brendan nodded.

“It was as if you longed for me to be elated in your company and not worry about matters, no matter how serious they were. Correct me if I’m wrong, but now that I’m out of the picture, has she been continuously texting you to hang out after classes? Or asking you to check out certain videos about love songs and romance novels?”

What Winnie described was almost the accurate description of Katrina’s behaviour towards him. Ever since she left, courage possessed Katrina with the bravery to message Brendan over serious and petty things like the ones Winnie mentioned. It was rubbing off him in the wrong light and he felt that she clung to him like he was her somebody.

“How did you know?”

“I’ve known that girl longer than you, my friend. She was in the same classes as me throughout high school and we’re distantly related through our mothers. I’ve never remained more than cordial with her because she is competitive. Anyway, it was easy to guess. Someone can become desperate when he or she wants the attention of their crush. Plus, you’ve no idea what she said to me during one of the family gatherings lately. She growled that you’re all hers and I should give my blessings instead of standing in the way. She even accused me of brainwashing you to dislike her! I mean, that isn’t true. You’re who you are and I can’t answer why you aren’t as close to her than to me. You’d never been able to see it because she’s clever. She knows how to separate work from family drama and jealousy.”

“How did you know that I liked you? I was as discreet as I could be. I always resisted the urge to embrace you unless it was to greet you after months of not seeing each other. I’ve never glanced or stared at your direction in class or bought you drinks when we were together either. I tried my hardest not to give you the eyebrow flash when you rocked in with your presentation outfit. I purposely didn’t compliment you on your haircut either.” Brendan gulped half of his iced lemon tea. “But you’ve reasonable cause to suspect because it’s all true. I like you and still do, which is why your unexplained departure slapped me the hardest.”

Winnie sipped her flat white, contented with the silence while buying time for her response. She never expected Brendan to come clean because she didn’t want to believe the signs in front of her. “The truth is I like you, Brendan,” she admitted. “But there’s too much for us to overcome. As I’ve mentioned much earlier, Perth is my home. I don’t want to be pitted against you, Katrina, and home after graduation. Long-distance relationship is not something I can deal with. If I hooked up with you, I’d lose Katrina as a friend. What’s worse is we’ll be sworn archrivals. If Katrina is your girlfriend, I’d lose you as a friend. Imagine the three of us heading out and hanging together. I’d be the lamp post that’s infringing on the lovebirds’ private moment. That’s reason number two.”

“But -”

“Let me finish. Reason number three is my ex-boyfriend. For whatever reason, the bloody idiot decided to pursue his education with his new flame in Adelaide. To make it worse, they are in our uni but under a different faculty. That’s my former best friend, whom he cheated on me with. I know you’ll argue that you’re different than Tobias, but it brings back raw memories. My heart still faintly skips whenever something reminds me of him or of our time together although it’s been three years since our breakup. Throw that on top of watching you and Katrina as a couple if that occurs. What I’m insinuating is I don’t know if I can overcome the scars and love you wholeheartedly. It makes it harder for me to trust you as a lover while focusing on my grades.”

Her eyes lost its radiant soul and on the verge of burning itself with a salty solution. It took an amount of self-control for Brendan not to take her into his embrace and comfort her. “You’ve to be kidding me, Winnie! You should’ve told me about this!” At least you wouldn’t have to suffer in silence and I’d have ensured that your ex learnt his lesson for not appreciating your sweet presence!” His voice softened. “My relationship with Katrina is and has always been platonic, we know that. The foundation that our friendship is built on is powerful enough to endure the storm from a future relationship, should it ever occur…”

“I didn’t need you to rock up to him and bleed the soul out of him either, Brendan, although the thought is much appreciated. I’m not worth enough for you to land yourself a meeting with the disciplinary board. As far as it mattered, I’m a stranger to them… just a fellow peer from uni. I strive hard to stay away from events that involve his favourite pastimes because I’d run into him there. You’re a law student, Brendan. You can’t afford to have a record of anything that might clip your chances of being the awesome lawyer I know you are.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t know about this.”

“Don’t be stupid, Brendan. You’re a native who has his life planned out for him in Adelaide. Me? Adelaide was an education sojourn for me. My life is in Perth. I know you love me and you wanted me to stay, but I don’t want you to be screwed over by someone who’s not staying there for good. Soon, you’d start hating me for playing you like a harp. So, no, thanks, it’s not something I want to risk, especially since you’ve been so good to me.” She gripped his hand. “I appreciate it that you miss me, but leaving was the only plausible choice. Please forgive me, Brendan, for being the love you can never have.”

“I won’t hate you. How could I hate someone whom I love, Winnie?”

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A pressure cooker's worth of schedule

Studies.

I’m relieved that I’m on the halfway mark in more ways than one. We’re talking about a four-year degree and an additional year of legal training. That’s if I decide to practice as a barrister, but the chances are likely. I mean, why stop at the bachelor level when I can improve the shape of my career? That decision also makes me feel … riper than I should. When I take a step back and look at all of my friends, most of them are now in their final year and looking forward to their graduation next year whereas a bunch of us (including me) won’t be officially be done until two years after.

Oh, well.

Something must be wrong with me to realize that I’m feeling more at home with Creative Writing when it’s one of the electives attached to my degree. I can’t exactly change time, can I? I’m not going to change my degree pathway at this stage. If I wanted to, as I’ve mentioned before, I’d have done it, much to the exuberance of my good friend. I read in between the lines that he’d have loved to be accorded with the opportunity of us graduating together from his choice of words, but it is what it is. I don’t know whether he’ll show up at my convocation to send me off with so much of a goodbye because we’ve never broached on this topic. It’ll be awesome to see him there, but I won’t blame him if he can’t attend due to reasons unknown to us now. I guess we’ll only know when the time arrives.

This particular elective that I chose on a whim has the remnants of Writer’s Craft, which is a positive and negative thing because it’s unlocked the chain of memories that I thought I buried in the depths of my heart. I still hear the sound of my own heart cracking in the dead silence whenever I catch myself reminiscing on my time in that class. A part of me still harbors the belief that if I hadn’t enrolled at the time that I did, I would’ve saved myself from all of the troubles that ensued with it. It’s not that I’m wishing those batch of classmates away - that’s not true because I couldn’t ask for a better batch - but more along the lines of two people. It’s always in the serenity of the chilly evening air that their images float with lucidity in my psyche. One I’ve stabbed with the sharpest end of a sword and the other sending his prayers of happiness to the skies with the wish that I’ll receive it. (It is with regrets that I don't know when it will come.)

You can pretty much deduce the ending from that sentence, although if you’re thinking of betrayal, you’re dead wrong.

Nope, it’s nothing to that degree.



The other friend’s right; I’ve signed myself up for a round of torture with the amount of coursework. I can’t whinge because I knew about the intensity almost as soon as the enrollment was open. It is with clarity that I remember his kind advice to swap things around (two of the electives with the core subject next year, like what I did for the first semester as a sophomore)... but let’s just say that I overestimated my capabilities and academic schedule. I thought I’d be able to ride this semester out like I did for the last one. Don’t get me wrong; I love the subjects that I chose. Otherwise, why was I stubborn for it? It bleeds me dry inasmuch as it resuscitates me with interest.

He didn’t bat his eyelids when I told him that I stuck to my choice. It was as if he saw it coming. You see, we managed to catch up in the first week over coffee - away from campus - and a tad bit of laughter to lighten the mood of what will be an adventurous penultimate year. Both of us are waist-deep in our respective matters and it's hard to waddle without growing weary over our grades.

Speaking of electives, I’m sure that the History mate will face-palm himself when he hears that I’m doing one related to philosophy. He embraces it with more passion than myself and it was as plain as day that I didn’t fancy learning about it. When we learned about the Enlightenment and the Salon, where all of the philosophers - including Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Kant, to name a few - exchanged ideas with each other over tea, he flourished like a bird in the sky, even more so than me. Me, I swam under the enormous pressures of understanding each concept that each philosopher brought to the table.

Oh, well. *shrugs*

Sunday, March 5, 2017

3/5/2017

I dreamt that there were a bunch of us huddled in an elevator while waiting to exit at our intended floor. We laughed out loud over something that one of the girls mentioned when the only male friend broke into coughing fits. I didn’t know what happened to him, so I patted his back to help him clear his throat. It wasn’t until he coughed out a thick liquid onto his white napkin that a death-defying silence fell upon us.

Blood.

He sensed our horror and tried to soothe us that it was nothing big, but not me because I knew what it meant.

I bolted out of the place and cried my eye sockets out when my suspicions were proven true in the form of a pathologist’s report. Lung cancer. And the poor chap looked miserable and pale in the span of a week. It was like the revelation bled any form of life from him.

I blocked the sight of him and his news out of my mind when we entered a premium-looking immigration complex. One of the immigration ministers was en-route to his office after a smoking break. A shopping mall was its neighbor, which allowed the applicants the means and method to kill some time - if required to - or satiate their thirst/hunger. She caught up with my childhood friend and his younger sister when I pretended to immerse myself with the range of perfume that this particular shop carried. Although the mere smell of it sends me running for the hills in a sneezing attack, I had already decided to purchase a bottle of fragrance for the gravely-ill friend, whose birthday was just around the corner. I didn’t want to face any mutual friends while I came to terms with the bleak prognosis.

To be honest, this dream has leaned towards the weirder side. I mean, this is the second time that the childhood friend has appeared in my dream. It has to mean something, right? Otherwise, why has he decided to make himself known in my dream? And with his sister this time?

Let’s blow the scenes into a frame by frame analysis then.

The lung cancer prognosis could mean that a friendship’s about to prematurely electrocuted. The premium-looking immigration complex might indicate my desire to visit Pavilion and sink my face into Kurtos Spiroll. Not wanting to acknowledge the childhood friend could be my intention to distance myself from everyone whom I know. I’ve never bought a bottle of fragrance and will not do so for at least a long while, but it might be a symbol of the early birthday gift that I intend to pass to the finance friend.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Past Memories



Bic Runga’s sweet voice swimming through my bloodstream through her amazing songs - such as Sway and Get Some Sleep - is something that I need after an intense start to the academic week. I’m not sure what transpired in the wee hours of the morning, but I woke up with a vampire’s makeup and feeling trashy as I made my way to the classes and tutorials. I could barely keep my eyes open in the middle of International Humanitarian Law without the access to caffeine.

It’s always moments like this when I listen to songs like this that I’m heavily reminiscent about the memories in New Zealand. Ah, the time when we snuggled in that ancient green Toyota Corolla and drove down the highway to Palmerston North for an overnight rest in Papa Carrie’s acquaintance’s house (if memory serves me right, I still have the little gift that she purchased for me.) before landing in our final destination. The capital city. Wellington.

I’m hoping for the day when I’ve enough dough to take the flight there and breathe the fresh Kiwi air after more than a decade away from the country.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Let's go?

Hello again, folks!

How was everyone’s Chinese New Year? I hope it was much better than mine. Mine was expectedly quiet, seeing that it’s my penultimate year in a foreign land with a different spirit for the festivity. I’ve learnt not to expect the annual lion dances or fireworks (unless it coincides with other events) because it’s not ingrained in the Australian culture in the same manner that it does for Malaysia, which is why I’m always caught aback whenever I hear the drums.

If memory serves me well, you’ll know that the festival season is around the corner when the shopping mall or grocery stores are alive with the mandarin oranges or the festivity-themed songs. Your neighbors will set the firecrackers or fireworks off on the street, sending you into a temporary cardiac arrest or reaching out for your thickest headphones.

Nothing of that sort occurred here.

To be honest, I didn’t even know that it was Chinese New Year until I received the festive greetings from friends on WhatsApp and one of the sales assistant at the Asian grocery store that I patronize frequently informed me about it. Talk about being kept in the dark, lol. I guess that’s the beauty of not traveling during the festivity. Unlike the rest of my compatriots, I chose to spend it here instead of back home for reasons that I’ll rather shove under the carpet. I think the only fruitful thing I did was watch the much-anticipated Australia Open 2017 finals between Federer and Nadal over a plate of Magharita pizza at the tail-end of the heatwave.

It was down to business with the start of the orientation training. We gathered on the lawns outside Elder Hall like piranha fish giddy with delight over human delicacies to meet the students who were assigned to our care for the important day. I wouldn’t blame the commencing students for the overwhelming nerves because we’ve all experienced it as freshmen. It took me an entire year - yeah, I know - before I found my footin and regained my confidence as a sophomore. Let me tell you that it’s not the orientation day that will paralyze you with fear (although I didn’t attend mine. I mean, I was there on campus but it was a different atmosphere altogether). It’s the first day of tutorials that has the potential of you breaking into a film of perspiration - unless you’re the lucky one to have friends/cliques from college in the same degree and seminars as you.

Anyway.



After the necessary introductions and small talk, we listened in on a speech presented by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor before we disembarked on a campus tour. You’d think that I’d have made my way to the O-week activities since I was there, but I gave it an entire miss. I wasn’t feeling the spirit of it. It’s one thing to attend it with familiar faces but it’s another to be there on your own.

That’s not to say that I can’t attend events on my own. Heck, I’ve done it before.

My penultimate year officially starts tomorrow with the Creative Writing lecture. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’m either out of my mind or crazy for not pursuing a double degree. I’ve thought about that as a freshman in Taylor’s … but let’s just say that I’ll have gone for it in a different world. It’s not a piece of cake to endure the intensity of a double degree because you’re talking about 4 courses every semester for at least 5 years.

I don’t know what to expect although I’ve been doing this for the last two years. I mean, each year throws you off-balance with its weird twists and turns. I’ve also peppered the foundations that will lead me to the next stage of my life with seeds of hope. I’m not going to jinx it by speaking of it, but I hope that things will turn out for the best and it’ll at least bring out some joy. I don’t know why, but I’ve been feeling alone and isolated in crowds. Like I’ve tuned everyone out and the only sound I hear is the one of my beating heart.

Which is not a good thing, if you ask me.

Which is also a good thing that the physical exhaustion masquerades it. I’ve always taken my time to flag a ride to the same destination as everyone else (if it makes any sense?). I don’t do things just because everyone else of my age is doing it. Take driving license for example. Most of my friends rushed to enroll in driving lessons the moment they were legal to do so and are now proud owners who are independent, at least in the travel sense. Me, I’m still license-less because you could say I’m a rebel. I still don’t see the need to fork out the money for it, especially since I’m abroad now. I’m not familiar with the roads here and I’ll have to read the RTA from cover to cover before I decide on taking my license in Adelaide. (I can imagine my good friend groaning at that thought because he’s been pushing me out of that due to the financial costs involved. Sorry, mate.) Another reason is because I’m not sure where my heart takes me for work. I don’t want to be in the midst of learning it and suddenly move to - let’s say - Brisbane for work and throw everything in a limbo. It’ll be a different Road Transport Department and God knows how much unnecessary paperwork I might have to endure.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Just a word of update

Hello folks, it’s been a wild week over here. I’m sure you’ve heard about the heatwave that’s thrown Australia into a furnace with temperatures edging closer to 50C. I don’t think you can imagine the hot air, but to provide some context, it was being baked alive in an oven. To make things worse, there were unscheduled blackouts for load shedding. Humidity also paid a visit. It’s different from the 70 - 80% humidity that we have in KL in the sense that you feel like you’re being suffocated. At least with KL, you’ve the cool winds at night.

“Because it’s easier to know what you’re not than what you are.” - Born in Ice by Nora Roberts, page 182

Everyone has spoon-fed me with things along the lines of intelligence, confidence, and kindness and expected me to be brainwashed by those sweet words. Some of it is based on the the truth, which I’ll willingly admit, but some are sugarcoated. I’d rather believe that I’m the average girl next door who’s trying to weave her way into a smooth transition from one environment to other. I want to believe that I’m capable of dropping people like hot potato once they’ve inflicted enough damage and making them suffer emotional trauma because it masks my weakness with the protective layers and keeps me from keeling over in angst.

It’s for the same reason that I’ve kept my innermost thoughts at arm’s length from the good friends, instead using exhaustion as an excuse to mask the absence.

That’s it from me today. I’ll be back with a more detailed post some time next week.

Friday, February 10, 2017

2/10/17



I dreamt that I drove to someone’s house and landed in their driveway. It was occupied by a Chinese family - judging from the happiness sticker that they plastered on the wooden door. The occupants looked familiar, but I couldn’t place where I previously saw or met them.

Later that week, when it was time for exams, I searched for the examination hall hosting the paper that I was about to sit. The security guard didn’t search my bag and demand that I send it through something that resembled the airport scanner because I slid under the radar. Once inside, I perused the noticeboard for my name, but it wasn’t listed there. A name similar to mine was, but either it belonged to someone else or it was a spelling mistake. I didn’t want to take my chances and commit identity fraud.

In reality, I’ve been visiting a particular family - acquainted to my Mom since when childhood - whenever I’m back in town. A quick reference check online indicated that the inability to find my seat for an exam meant that I want to prove myself, but am unsure how to. It’s like being restrained against your will.



In another dream, I fled from the floors of SJMC and found myself head to head with someone at the entrance gate. Her eyes burnt with fury and demanded that I leave the scene immediately. An adult with a younger fellow entered the seaside building on a breezy yet sunny afternoon. It was evident that they were mother and child. When I saw them, I ran in the opposite direction. The child saw me - her father - and called for him. My heart wanted to embrace her, but my brain said to run. I was cornered by walls at every turn while I tried to rid the child off my trail. We ultimately caught up with each other at the row of elevators. Her voice was enough to melt my stone cold heart.

In reality, the aforementioned person in the hospital is someone whom I’ve not spoken in months. In reality, we’ve drifted away due to unresolved matters and the distance of time. Maybe she’s thinking of me or still annoyed with me, I don’t want to know.

The change of gender in the dream reminded me of something that an acquaintance posted on Facebook a while back… it went along the lines of not being able to be the doting parent to a beautiful and treasured child. Could my dream be a signal that the father in the dream is the adult version of me? Or just the way of an exhausted yet sleep-deprived subconscious?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2/7/17

Start afresh?

A quick refresher?

It was already nightfall when Brendan was given his hotel key card after the check in process was completed. He didn’t care much if his room was blessed with the magnificent view of Swan River because he wouldn’t soak up Mother Nature’s beautiful artwork. Most of his time would be spent outdoors, experiencing Perth while tracking down Winnie. What he needed was a comfortable bed to crash on instead.

With the help of the hotel receptionist’s instructions, he made his way to the Crawley-Nedlands campus of University of Western Australia by bus and train the next morning. As he was a stranger to this part of the country, he assumed the role of a prospective student and casually followed the crowd into the admissions office before he waited at the corner. Half an hour later, he found himself being given a tour of the large campus and the accommodation. Allowing himself to rest on the wooden yet heated bench and with one last effort at contacting Winnie, he dropped a text on WhatsApp and hoped for little. Two years of friendship and continuously seeing each other in tutorials were enough for Brendan to understand the inner workings of Winnie’s mind. The girl had the penchant of ignoring messages on Messenger for weeks at one go. Getting her to reply on WhatsApp was a tad bit easier but still took an effort. Brendan shook his head, relieved that at least Winnie came with the brains to answer to urgent and important texts on either social media accounts. His phone vibrated with such intensity that he almost jumped in shock.

It was Winnie, which surprised him.

“You’ve finally got in contact.”

“I read your messages. Why did you track me down in Perth?”

It was not a question of how. It was more of why, which was highly indicative that she knew he’d search for her whereabouts and that their former lecturer fed him with the important information. She knew he was hot on her trail and it wasn’t long before her hideout would be exposed to the light of day. “I needed to know if you were alright. You left without a trace. Katrina and I are both worried about you.”

“I had my reasons.”

“Any of which you want to spill? I’ve time and can listen.”

She navigated past his gentle prodding. “Don’t you have classes to attend to back in Adelaide? It’s not the autumn break yet.”

Smart gal, he thought. Although she was no longer physically in the North Terrace campus, she still kept herself in touch with the university’s academic calendar and events. “Missing a tutorial once is fine. Plus, my friend will cover for me. My flight’s on Sunday. If you’re thinking of throwing me off, it’s not working, Winnie.”

There was a moment’s silence in which she debated whether to reveal the truth or to keep the cards close to herself. Sure, he was someone she trusted. She had come to appreciate his presence in her life over the course of their friendship. He was able to be there for her while maintaining a distance - unlike Katrina, whom Winnie felt was intrusive at times. He was a mature chap who understood the crooked paths of life, but she was unsure if he could handle everything she was to tell. It wasn’t just Katrina’s role that complicated matters. It was his feelings towards her… and as she hated to admit, her thoughts of him. He fulfilled all of the attributes of her Mr. Right but distance was a double-edged sword. He didn’t endure the 3-hour flight to unchartered territories for nothing. He wanted answers, something to assist him in understanding the rationale behind her decision and the reasons leading to it. She’d dish the truth on a plate to him, as per his silent wishes, but she was in no way responsible for the impact on him.

“Fine, you win. Where are you now?”

“Your campus.”

“Tell you what, Brendan. Meet me in front of Coffee Club Harbour Town in two hours time. It’s quieter there and we’ll talk.”

The call went dead before Brendan responded. Winnie was deranged to have suggested that place. How was he to head there? Couldn't she have suggested somewhere nearby, somewhere closer where he wouldn’t find himself lost like a confused deer? With a sigh, he retraced his footsteps to the admissions office and prayed that whoever was in charge would be able to guide him.

Friday, January 20, 2017

1/20/17

In the first scene, which didn’t provide enough context for me to work with, I dreamt that I couldn’t find my way home and landed in an adult’s house. The owner’s eye shot up when he saw me because I looked familiar to him. It dawned on him that I’m a friend of his nephew and we’ve met at an open house gathering.

In real life, the nephew is my childhood friend who’s happily living his life in Boulder, CO. The reason how I could make the association was because he mentioned the friend’s name. The house resembled the ones in the neighborhood of USJ 11. I reckon that the dream’s nudging me to address the insecurities and annoyance at everything going around me. Either that - or I’m harboring the subconscious fear of failing and wish of desiring a safe pair of arms to guide and nurture me to weather this storm.



In the second scene, where it was much clearer, I dreamt that I loitered outside a large hall full of foldable tables and chairs with a trolley that students use to lug their textbooks to school in. The hall was devoid of people when I entered and immediately settled for the seat opposite a female friend for the next tuition session. Seated diagonally us was a college friend who didn’t notice my presence there.

“Dreamt of him working in a coffeehouse and, guess what, he’s actually a barista in real life,” was what I whispered to the female friend. “I haven’t spoken to him after our graduation…”

In real life, the said female friend is an associate in law who’s in the same batch as me. The said college friend is the same one mentioned here.

The memory of attending that tuition in elementary school, albeit a different location, arose like ashes in the air. I don’t know; maybe it’s a hint of personal growth, where I’m learning something that will propel me to greater heights. Or it’s an indication that I need to improve intelligence as I’ve been feeling a little … well, un-intelligent lately. I wouldn’t dare say that it’s hinting me to confide in a non-judgmental person because I’m quite comfortable in keeping most thoughts/comments/opinions to myself nowadays.

I know that it’s a signal for something if the college friend can appear in my dream twice. A quick check online revealed that I need to reflect on my acquaintanceship with him for clues as it holds the key to lessons I’m now experiencing.

In the third scene, which left me with a frown, I dreamt that another friend dropped me in front of an office after picking me up from somewhere. The departing destination was not revealed. The person awaiting me in front of the office was wearing an office attire and an employee tag. His eyes beamed with happiness and he proceeded to rubbing my cheeks in the same way that I used to do it to my Shih Tzu. He kept muttering that ‘aw, you so cute’, much to my chagrin. I rolled my eyes and shot a visual signal to my friend, who was rearranging his things at the back seat of the car, for help.



In real life, I’ve no idea on what to make of this because the identities of the so-called friends in the dream weren’t revealed. I can interpret this dream in two ways: 1) the person rubbing my cheeks is someone close yet exerting authority over me. I can’t fight back although I should and he knows that, exploiting my weakness to his advantage; or 2) there are positive changes coming my way hence his action of jokingly rubbing my cheeks. This action would require the person to be a loved one - either a parent or a lover.

The online interpretation even went as far as to suggest that a dearly beloved one is in my midst but treating my existence as invisible. *facepalm*

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

1/10/17

Start afresh?

A quick refresher?

"I’m leaving, cause I’m so tired/ Of never knowing what to do./ I’m feeling you got me hired/To be a fool for you."

Guilt-inflicted anger crawled on Katrina like a cockroach when she read Winnie’s Facebook status. It was the first verse of "Fool for You" by The Once. No matter how much she disliked her for not helping her to nail Brendan as a boyfriend, they were like a family to each other. The three were supposed to stand up for each other and protect the other from harm’s way. She felt that she disappointed Winnie by accusing her of things she never did. But with Winnie out of the picture and with no one standing in her quest to pursue Brendan, Katrina’s smile crept out of the corners of her lips. Inasmuch as her conscience nagged her to show this to Brendan, her heart waved the idea off. It didn't benefit her if she helped him find Winnie. In fact, she’d land herself in more detriment by doing so, especially when it was clear that Brendan harboured a love for Winnie.

It dawned on Brendan that Winnie already hinted at her impending departure months ago when she casually commented that she foresaw herself working interstate, not in town. He didn’t think much about it because it’d be a long time before her wish could be granted. Yes, he remembered that she mentioned the states of Western Australia and Queensland, but both were larger states than his hometown. Pinpointing her current location would be harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Although her Messenger was idle, her WhatsApp service was still connected, which meant that either her phone number was still in service or was somewhere with good wireless signal.

Winnie Richards was a careful and systematic person. There was no way in hell that she’d skipped town without someone knowing. But the problem is, who could she have told? She would’ve told someone about it in advance, he was sure of that. Plus, something in his gut was persistent that she was completing the remainder of her degree interstate.

Their Criminal Law lecturer.

It was only plausible that she’d have sought help from their lecturer as Criminal Law was her highest-scoring course in her degree. In fact, one of the best performing students for that year. She also knew him on a personal basis and would’ve felt more comfortable approaching him on those two grounds.

“Hi, Mark.” Brendan entered the lecturer’s office, almost engulfed in a wave of trepidation. Although Winnie has spoken to Mark in his office on more than one occasion and went to describe their lecturer as strict but friendly out of tutorial hours, the nerves still affected Brendan as it was his first time here. It was a tidy office - with folders of papers kept to a minimum and books arranged on the shelves. There was a framed photo of his son who looked no more than five years old on the third tier. “Am I disturbing you?”

“Hello there! Nah, you’re not.” Mark’s smile immediately melt any fear that Brendan felt and gestures towards the seats in front of the office table. “Take a seat. What can I do for you today?”

“I’m actually a friend of Winnie Richards, who was a student of yours last year.”

“Yup, I remembered her. She was in one of my classes. A quiet but intelligent student. If memory serves me right, you were with her in the seminars too. What’s your name, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Brendan nodded. “Brendan. I know this may sound odd and maybe shocking to you, Mark, but did Winnie inform you about her departure?”

“Departure? You mean, academic transfer? She did. In fact, Winnie asked me to write a referral letter to boost the chances of her application to transfer being approved by the receiving university, UWA. It’s a first for me in my years of teaching; that’s why I remember it well. What happened to her?”

“It’s just that she stopped contacting her friends, including me, and we’re trying to find out if she’s okay and where she is. You said UWA? Is that in Perth?”

“She actually contacted me last week to drop a note, Brendan. In the email, she said that she’s doing fine in UWA, but adjusting to a new campus will take some time since she’s halfway done with her degree. To answer you, yup, that’s the one. There’s one more thing, though.” Mark shifted himself on the chair. “Winnie knew that you’d ask about her sudden disappearance from campus and specifically requested your friend Katrina to be kept out of the loop. She didn’t explain why but said that it’s to do with you. If you ask me, it has to do with love and relationships. Just a sixth sense.”

“Thanks for letting me know, Mark.” Although he wasn’t sure why Winnie would tell the lecturer that the reasons were complicated, he couldn’t disregard Mark’s comment. As a married father, Mark would be able to arrive at the root of the problem faster than Brendan because he’s experienced and seen life. He couldn’t help but ask for an advice or two. “What should I do?”

“If I were you, I’d take the next flight to Perth and settle it with Winnie. Tomorrow’s a Friday. If you’re worried about skipping a tutorial, an occasional one is absolutely fine. Just get a friend to pass the seminar notes to you. If that is impossible, read the prescribed textbook reading for the week and listen to the lecture again. It won’t be as good as personally taking the notes, but it works. Next week’s the autumn break for us. Then again, it’s just a suggestion.”

“I’ll have to think about it…”

“No worries, and all the best!”

As he slowly worked his way around Qantas’s automatic bag drop service, he felt the pain of purchasing a flight ticket at the eleventh hour. Although he was lucky to get a good seat that allowed him a view and an accommodation in Perth’s city centre for the weekend, he had to sprint home to pack his travel bag with clothing from Mark’s office and rushed to the airport before the peak hour traffic.

He’d decide on his itenary on the flight itself.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Have I changed?

Great, I cracked the entire screen of my iPad when it slipped from my hands and crash-landed on the carpeted floor with a thud. Oh, how awesome my purse would feel when it’s time to send it to the Apple technician for repairs. I’m leaving it as it is because I don’t have the extra dough to spend and I’ve to remind myself to be more cautious with electronics.

Maybe someone’s right; my psyche’s possessed by extreme exhaustion. It feels like I’m on autopilot at times because I can’t elaborate on some of the things I’m doing and my concentration levels are at an all-time low. A part of me is nudging me to seek help or, at least, an explanation for the peculiarity yet I can’t form the words to describe my feelings.



Put it this way, I don’t believe that anyone will be able to understand things from my perspective. Believe me when I say that I’ve given voice to my thoughts, but the other person’s reply and reaction made me believe otherwise. It convinced me that it’s for my own good if I remained reticent or isolate myself when I’m not interested to deal with humans. 2016 has led to personality changes, I’m sure. I remember looking forward to starting university life as a sophomore and spending quality time with Criminal Law. Bumpy turns here and there later, my patience ran thin and I found myself pretending to be alright when I wanted out by second semester. Now, if you lay the option of hanging out with friends or dating books (including textbooks) indoors, I’ll take the latter option in a heartbeat. From the looks of it, 2017 will be a chaotic year - where I’m attempting to strive harder for academic excellence while suppressing my true emotions underneath the layers of faux exuberance. As I’ve spoken about this before, I’ll leave the pen here.



In less than 2 months time, it’s a crazy run to the finishing line - yet I’ve second thoughts about it. I mean, I’m officially past the halfway mark and am more than relieved about it but I don’t know if I can accomplish all of these silent goals by graduation. Because I don’t have external assistance, I’d rather grit my teeth than to ask and work my way through the mess. (I call it ‘mess’ because all of the answers are buried somewhere in the case studies or prescribed readings.) Throw the requirement for a clerkship (read: an internship with a law firm) on top of that, sigh. Speaking of which, if any one of you, my readers, happen to know any legal firms in Adelaide, who are looking for interns, it’d be awesome and appreciated if you could send the details over.



Academic matters aside, I honestly need to pay more attention to my emotional well-being, especially after the unexpected visit from the pelicans. If my paws are continuously on the accelerator, I’ll eventually collapse from the stress with two consequences: either I’m down with a total nervous breakdown and a definite appointment with the psychiatrist or I’ll be force-fed with food to the point of regurgitating all of the contents into the toilet bowl when I see the family friends again.

Neither of which should happen.

Much to my disappointment, the flight home did nothing to alleviate the anxiety or stress. It did the opposite - in fact, it worsened my emotions to the point where my eyes burnt with tears when the plane left the runway. It was as if I didn’t want to return to Adelaide and I actually know the real reason why, but would rather keep it private - between myself and God.

And until I’m feeling much better, I’ll see you when I do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Flashbacks of 2016

A photo posted by Ciana Carrie (@thetemperamentalist) on


January

It’s the final month of summer break, and inasmuch as I wasn’t keen to return as a sophomore, I had to convince myself that I’m nearing the halfway point. After the release of exam scores for my Semester 2 subjects, I’ll officially stand at the middle line.

Since I was able to sit down and reflect in the weeks leading up to Orientation Week, I managed to deal with the emotional issues, but as long as I keep the stress levels to an acceptable level and avoid the triggers, it’d all be cool.

February

Lookie, look!

It’s the Adelaide Illuminations - in conjunction with the Adelaide Fringe Festival! I was insane enough to make my way to campus at night to capture some pictures for my album… because let’s face it, will we ever be able to see something similar in Kuala Lumpur? Jalan Bukit Bintang, maybe. Subang Jaya, highly unlikely.

And guess who photobombed my experience?

The news crew.

Yes, you read that right. *sighs* The sneaky cameraman decided to creep behind me and captured me taking a video of the illumination on Elder Hall, but thank God none of the acquaintances recognized me in the split-second footage. Not that I’m panicky about cameras, though. Then again, I was lucky enough this year to have a first-hand experience at the same time; I hid behind the crowd and craned my neck to watch the parade with delightful and colorful performers, lol.

Since a promise was a promise, I spent all 3 days with the finance friend at Barr Smith Laws, experiencing O-Week as sophomore students - in the heatwave! Still, we didn’t let that be in the way of our enjoyment as we caught up over bottomless amount of lemonade and soda with the handful of pictures. We were lucky that neither one of us ran a temperature or suffered a heatstroke. I skipped almost all of the activities as a freshman (save for the photo booth and the BBQ session) because I wasn’t keen on it, plus everyone knows that activities can be mundane if you’re participating in it on your own.

Honestly speaking, I may have had my reasons for enrolling in Criminal Law a year earlier than everyone else (and Law School wouldn’t be surprised by it either), but there was a pang of regret after the first lecture. I underestimated the additional workload and stress that I had to endure. When I ran into my Public Law lecturer outside the elevator area one Friday morning, he looked at me as if I was insane to study Constitutional Law, Equity and Criminal Law together due to its intensity. (Technically, he’s correct - it did feel like mayhem in my brain when swotvac arrived)

Having acquaintances in the same seminars will make the transition easier, because who wants to make a new batch of friends in each course for each semester every year, right? Running into each other on the first day of lectures was fine, but little did we know that there was a little surprise waiting for us.

You can probably imagine our horror when we crossed paths in not only one, but two classes. The words that I told him after the completion of our group project immediately rang in my head: who knows if we might be in the same lectures/seminars next semester?

*face palm*

God knows what the chap thought in the moment, but I was internally sweating because I didn’t mean those words. It was thrown out there as a half-joke. The time-slots were of my choice, and the decision was not tattered with undue influence either. I’ve to be responsible for it, no matter what surprises it carried.

I was rather surprised when the good friend dropped a message, asking whether we (read: my sister and I) could meet up as he wanted to pass the long-awaited Christmas presents. After firming up the time, date and place, we finally caught up in the Hub, where he was joyous to see us (although my sister would say that he was happier to see me, not her; then again, I wouldn’t want to know either). Methinks it’s because I decided not to attend the Criminal Law lecture to spend time with them both.

March - May

I don’t remember much from these three months because the academic workload knocked me out in cold blood. Autumn break should’ve allowed us some time out, but we’ were dating our assignments instead. I almost banged my head on the wall when I took a peak at the assignments.

Two of them were even due at the same time!

It was around this period that I had the crying dream and should’ve seen it as the subconscious warning of a mental breakdown. (Note: it happened months later - in the midst of a lecture. I was rushing to look for a safe spot after the lecture because I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. You’d be able to tell anyway; who wears sunglasses when the rays weren’t blinding?)



I even volunteered for the Semester 1, 2016 graduation ceremony and actually earned a thing or two about it

1) NEVER EVER be late for it, or you’ll have to receive your parchment in-absentia and lose the glory of graduating in a spectacular, regal place;

2) make sure your guests arrive on time as well; and

3) dress appropriately. It stinks to see people attending the ceremony in flip-flops.

In addition to that, a presentation for Criminal Law awaited me. While my original preference was ‘fair trial’ since it sounded awesomely challenging, I’m relieved that the teammate chose the topic of ‘mental impairment’ because of its hidden familiarity. It’s no wonder that McNaghten’s Rules (which is now codified in s269C in CLCA as the test for presumption of mental competence in s 269D of the same Act) sounded familiar - we skated on this in Canadian and International Law before.

My final thoughts on it? It’s still a wonder that I managed to remain in one piece before class (although that came at the expense of ignoring almost everyone).

June

A couple more weeks and it’s the commencement of exams. It’s an ongoing fact that the finals would always be in the way of a proper enjoyment. It was evident that I was apprehensive over Criminal Law. I would need to bring the A-game to an all-time high to hammer the exam blue and the ambitious Sagittarian in me wanted more than a bare pass.

Another exchange of presents occurred, but at my beckoning this time. It was far too early to pass the good friend his birthday present(s), but it was better if we gave it to him, now that it’s all wrapped and ready for delivery.



There’s a high chance that I’ll be busy in the weeks leading up to the actual day. Plus, the three of us could also kill two birds with one stone by catching up before the exams. I didn’t want a repeat of last year, you could say - where I wore a pair of exhausted eyes (no thanks to crying) to the hangout. Surprising everyone, including myself, I blushed brighter than a tomato in front of them. I was already feeling it the moment he tore open (yes, literally) the gift bag and perused the birthday messages. While he hinted that he’d get our birthday presents at the same time, I never expected him to follow up on his word. The item was something that I mulled on buying when I was in Kikki K a couple of months ago to buy another friend’s gift. Talk about reading my mind, lol. It wasn’t until I told him that I’m travelling during the summer break that it was good that he got the present now.

What I wrote on it sounded as if I’m unwillingly leaving Adelaide for Perth and emotional about my departure because it’ll be a long-distance friendship, and we’d have to instead rely on Messenger as a form of contact. My sister shot glances and whispered to me when he said something aloud… the World Issues student in me didn’t find it weird, but it was the conduct before that that left me with a raised eyebrow.

When he later turned to me with a perplexed expression after I mentioned that Typo is selling cat-influenced items, it left me in the hot seat because I never expected him to catch on that, lol. I’m still wondering how that word can be misheard as ‘cat influenza’, but there is a possibility that he saw the stress in my eyes and wanted me to laugh it off. *raises both hands* I’m merely working on probable grounds.

One of my friends from the Thursday’s class actually sighed because it meant cramming the revisions (for Constitutional Law and Criminal Law) to the point where we actually practiced our issue-spotting exercise together over Snapchat. (You’ll never read this anyway, my friend, and I don’t think your detective skills would be able to find my blog. *winks*) The exam jitters punched me with such force that my heart raced faster than it should when I flipped through the Criminal Law questions during the reading time.

July

We waited until it was officially the winter break before we decided on a mutually convenient date (and movie of choice) to make use of the free movie tickets (that I received from volunteering at the graduation ceremony).



That’s how we ended up watching “Me Before You”, starring Emilia Clarke (from Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (from Hunger Games). It was the well-deserved break that we both needed after (metaphorically) murdering ourselves as we tried to achieve our respective academic goals. It wasn’t as emotional as it was projected by people who’ve managed to watch it at the cinemas earlier, but it didn’t mean that there was a dry eye either.

As the release date of our final result crept closer, I dreamt of exams in two consecutive nights with different plots altogether. I could pin down the first dream almost immediately after I woke up to the fear of failing. The second one was harder to decipher because of its context (and the sense of reality attached to it was . . . shocking). But I’m just relieved that I’ve passed all three papers with God’s blessings. *smiles*

A photo posted by Ciana Carrie (@thetemperamentalist) on


After holing myself up in the privacy of my four walls, it was an interesting time to have volunteered for the ISC’s Welcome BBQ for the froshies - and boy, it was exhausting too. Watching the crowd flocking to the tent, waiting while we prepared the ingredients for service made the scene look like one of the Masterchef Australia’s outdoor competitions.

Semester 2 has commenced, but to a wet start. *sighs* It was raining heavily on the first day of classes.

August

We never planned to have a time out, but seeing that I needed something to take my mind off academics, we decided on hiking one fine weekend. It was good to rid the system of the burdening emotions with the fresh, hilly air. To make it more interesting, we ended the exploration with a plate of pizza in his suburb.

The original intention was not to enroll in this politics elective because I didn’t have the faith that foreign policy was my thing - if you know what I mean. I wanted something related to history or creative writing, but since none of the ones listed was suitable for me, I knew I needed to consider something unprecedented.

I swore I heard my good friend screaming with exuberance when I told him that his wish would be granted. I won’t reveal the nature of our conversation that led to the ultimate decision, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it brought a tiny speck of happiness to his day. Judging from the way he worded his reply, he desired to be in the same tutorial with me again.

Not to mention, I was more relieved towards the middle of the semester when there was a distance between me and someone. I don’t know what that person’s thoughts were, but I didn’t want the awkwardness to occur again. That incident was already weird enough to digest. That cannot be said of the workload. I almost caved in with the amount of pressure that I missed the opportunity to score a credit for an assessment by 1%, sigh. Two of the assessments were additionally due on the same day albeit an hour apart, which, I thought, would be alright. I underestimated the difficulty to the point where both pieces did not make sense to me while reading it.

If I can’t understand it, how am I to convince the marker with my arguments and propositions?

September

While the lecturers this semester didn't require us to complete assignments during the spring break, it didn’t feel like a break at all. I never traveled around the city for explorations or uncover the hidden gems of Adelaide. The only adventure that I experienced was the road trip to the Catholic winery in Clare Valley - and that was it.

I was under the weather a couple of days after that, which left me worried. If I couldn’t recover before we returned to tutorials, my chances of making a full recovery would be drastically reduced. Not only was my head on fire, my throat was a living tarred road with all the coughs and my nose was severely congested. I was more of a panda than myself. The backdated work only made it worse by taunting me for my failure to get on top of everything, urgh

October



When the opportunity to run for the recent Law Students Society elections presented itself in the form of a friend’s invite, I jumped on it because the polling period was shorter than the one for Students Representatives Council. Although our team lost by a majority and certain things happened along the way, I never regretted the decision to nominate myself and campaign for the votes. Apart from the elections, I felt like everything - the academic burden, the emotional stress, and the uncomfortable environment - pulled me in various directions. I resembled a fish struggling to stay afloat, but refused to shout that I needed time out.

Why would I want to portray the times of weakness to the shadowy world? It was something that only I can resolve it without a definite time period. If I didn’t understand why my college lecturer warned me to forget about double degrees back then, I sure do now. Depending on the combination of degrees (I’d have gone for Law and Creative Writing), battling 4 concurrent courses for 5 years isn’t for the light-hearted. The workload can be intense, especially if your exams and final assessments are due at the same time.

The late nights spent on assessments, lectures and revisions threatened to break the persistence that I’ve held for these couple of years. With a neighbor who behaves more like a nocturnal bat than the average homo sapien, it wouldn’t be long before I’ll lose my patience. Even my neighbor back home was more considerate to play soft, soothing and sleep-inducing songs. With the deck of cards I’ve been handed, it’s now arduous to play it like the ones desired.

November

I almost yanked at my hair when the examination timetable was released 6 weeks ago. Those who were enrolled in administrative law - including myself - were one of the first batches to simmer in the pressure cooker and still emerge from it in one piece. On the bright side, at least it wasn’t like last semester where ACL and criminal law exams were too close for comfort. My psyche threw in the towel the moment I found my allocated seat. I immediately knew that something was wrong because I was incapable of emotions. There was no pre-exam jitters. It was a neutral reaction where I wanted to be done with the paper and have a long sleep. If you compare this to last semester’s exams, I was panicking until the final moment back then.

A photo posted by Ciana Carrie (@thetemperamentalist) on


I sprinted from the examination hall to the tram station, needing to clear the stress from my system and catch the tram on time. The anxiety levels almost peaked when my eyes burned with tears at my inability to do better and had to convince myself to just breathe - repeatedly. My friend never knew this, but it was a pleasant surprise when he checked up on me via text while on the road. Maybe God spoke to him? Or, maybe he was genuinely concerned? At the time of this writing, I’m antsy about the overall grade - as to whether I’ll have a bare pass, resit the paper, or retake the entire course. I had to play by ear - the anxiety threatened to cause a mental breakdown.

The rest of November was spent between keeping myself calm and catching up on lost sleep. As it is, the worries kept me awake for longer than expected at night.

December

Owing to the exam arrangement, the results for the earlier exams were released a couple of days before the official date. I didn’t pay much attention to the electives because I knew it was a guaranteed pass, but it was a pain to know that I was 2% away from a credit and distinction for two electives. That’d have been a game changer for the GPA.

What led to a sudden mental crash was Administrative Law. My heart pounded with intensity because the replacement exams would’ve delayed all of the travel plans. Thank God it’s now in the past… or at least that was the lecturer mentioned when I thanked her for allowing me to pass. What I failed to realise was that my anxiety over the final grade led me to forget the errands I needed to execute. I guess it’s a huge reminder that it’s time to go back to basics: pen and paper and excellent time management.

The break that I insinuated occurred on my birthday - although not on a good start, but it’s not worth elaborating on it. My college friend, now in UK, insisted that I take the time off as he felt that I’m biting off more than I can chew. I was dealing with a time bomb - it could’ve easily detonated or exploded in my face, depending on how the results were - but I never expected it to be so evident in my words.



Unlike last year, there weren’t any drinking episodes at my beckoning. Alcohol, when ingested during emotional periods, has a terrible consequences. You drown your sorrows, but it’ll consequently worsen it. My appetite refused to improve much to my horror - I barely sampled the delectable dishes (even my favourite plate of steamed prawn) and shared the portion with friends or family.

Maybe I shouldn’t have detrimentally relied on promises and instead dealt with the matters personally. It would’ve yanked me out of unnecessary eleventh hour problems, sigh. To be honest, if it weren’t for my parents, I’d have stayed back and paint the town red or head east for some R&R.
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