Where Do I Even Begin? Pt. 1

Going three months without updating my blog might seem like I have abandoned it completely especially when I do have mention-worthy experiences to write about and things to reflect upon. For example, I didn’t write about the tiny things I wished to accomplish and managed to accomplish during the last few weeks before my enlistment. Neither did I write about the two graduation trips that I went on back in May to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. And I also haven’t exactly said much about my army journey even though it started 16 weeks ago.Yet every time I started writing a new blog post, the same two reasons would stop me.

  1. Lack of free time meant not having enough time to blog which in turn led to me feeling like whatever happened before my enlistment was no longer relevant and timely, with every week that passed.
  2. I didn’t want it to seem like I have transformed into a product of my current (forced) environment by writing about my army experiences. I know I don’t have a choice and a part of me admires and respects the people who have accepted or embraced their current circumstance and decided to make the most of their time here but at the same time I also resent them for giving in and changing to fit the mould so easily. However, I can’t control how they think and what they do. I just know that for now, I am still pretty resistant to certain aspects of this experience and I did not want the army to be the only thing I had left to talk about. I do not want these two years to have a role in defining who I am. Because the army has never been and will never be my ‘thing.’ Now, whether this resistance is working in my favour or not is something I’ll ponder over with you later. (In Pt. 2, probably)

With that being said, I was sitting around in my bunk after completing (or at least attempting) one of the obstacles in the standard obstacle course that I had been nervous about for three weeks when I felt an urge to write and translate my thoughts and emotions into words. And that’s what brought me here.

It would make most sense for me to go in a chronological order. So before I tell you what the past 16 weeks have been like, let’s go back to April & May – the weeks leading up to my enlistment. The list of things I wanted to do were pretty simple.

  • Meet up and spend time with anyone I would normally hang out with. (Including family, of course)
  • Attempt to prepare myself physically – and thereby, mentally – for my enlistment.
  • Laze at home and watch TV shows.
  • Try not to worry about my impending enlistment with every week that passed.

I managed to accomplish the first point – including the people who were usually hard to get a hold of. For example, my younger cousins who I used to have sleepovers with my at my Aunt’s and one of my close secondary school friends, Gina. The cousins have become increasingly busy with school as they grow up and Gina on the other hand is always either working or having other plans. Thereby, it felt good to meet up and spend time with them while I still could fit myself into their schedule. Add visiting my grandparents to that list and it just made me feel more complete as I checked these people off my mental checklist of people I wanted to see before my enlistment.

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A short sleepover with the younger cousins.

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Caught up with Gina over Bingsu and window shopping.

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I’ve only ever tried  Nunsongyee’s Cheesecake Bingsu so I decided to try an Oreo Bingsu this time.

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It was alright. Nunsongyee’s Cheesecake Bingsu is still my favourite though!

  • Meet up and spend time with anyone I would normally hang out with. (Including family, of course)
  • Attempt to prepare myself physically – and thereby, mentally – for my enlistment.
  • Laze at home and watch TV shows.
  • Try not to worry about my impending enlistment with every week that passed.

Now, I know the second and third points might contradict one another but I think I found a way to make it work. I tried to run every two days and then take a break on the third. It was pretty difficult to stick to this routine so I had to include a couple of cheat days too. I didn’t exactly feel fitter from all the exercise – especially since my running timing fluctuated regardless of how often I ran – but the effort I put in was what made me feel better and more prepared.

  • Meet up and spend time with anyone I would normally hang out with. (Including family, of course)
  • Attempt to prepare myself physically – and thereby, mentally – for my enlistment.
  • Laze at home and watch TV shows.
  • Try not to worry about my impending enlistment with every week that passed.

On the other hand, point four was pretty difficult to follow through with. I adopted this habit of feeling progressively worried or down as the day turned to night. It was just the realisation that yet another day had passed which meant I was a day closer to my enlistment. And you can imagine how this feeling only worsened with every week that passed. It was bitter sweet because me dreading time flying by made me have mixed feelings about my graduation trips too. Because looking forward to my graduation trips meant looking forward to the week or two before my enlistment.

I remember speaking to my Brother – who lately has been great at helping me worry less whenever I present him with something that’s bothering me – about this and he told me to enjoy the trips without thinking about my enlistment. Simple advice? Yes. But it might have been the reassurance that what I was feeling is justified that made me feel better.

Because I’m sure from the outside looking in, I might come across dramatic with all this talk about wanting to spend time with people while I still can and dreading enlistment. It’s not like I’m travelling overseas and never coming back nor have I been sentenced to life imprisonment. But if you actually know me, you would know that I have been worried about this next phase for the longest time. It just represents a lot of change to me. (More on that later, I guess)

As I accomplished these tiny things on my to-do list, time flew by and eventually it was time for my first graduation trip.

On some of my favourite reality shows like Shahs of Sunset and The Real Housewives, the cast goes on at least one trip every season. (I assume the producers love these trips as when people are forced to spend time together, it’s never smooth sailing – especially when the ‘people’ are reality TV personalities.) So that’s what I actually compared my graduation trips to – without the drama, of course. My graduation trips occupied the week and a half before my enlistment – with my graduation falling right smack in the middle. Thereby, I knew these trips would serve as one last hurrah with my closest friends before it became harder for us to meet as often as we used to.

The #BKKBabes 7D6N trip to Bangkok (just incase the hashtag wasn’t clear enough) with Shafna, Jamie and Chelsea was the first trip. A lot of planning went into the trip. We had conflicting ideas when it came to activities – the cultural, nature-ish side and the shop ’til you drop in the city side. And we also had to overcome a few obstacles like work schedules and my impending enlistment before everything fell into place. As for me, I was looking forward to the shopping as well as living in an Airbnb apartment with the girls for six nights.

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This has to be one of my favourite pictures from the trip.

 Highlight of the Trip: I want to say that all the shopping we did were highlight-worthy since I was there for the shopping but visiting True Love Cafe with Chelsea would be the main highlight because it was something different that I enjoyed. When Chels first presented me with this idea, I was pretty reluctant. I’ve always feared getting bitten by cats and dogs which is exactly why I hadn’t visited any cat or dog cafes up until True Love. It turned out to be a pretty zen environment and I managed to hang out with a couple of huskies and a shih tzu named ‘Momo’ who was quite the diva.

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#PreBKKBabesTexts Pt. 1

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They were so excited and fluffy!

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We had to have the bowl with ice cubes so they would come to us.

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I remember Chels laughing at how I am being side-eyed in this picture.

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The slice of cake and drink were an added bonus for me.

Best Buy: A navy blue cap with the letter ‘A’ on the front, simply because of how much I have used it lately. I remember telling Shaf two months in advance of our trip that I was looking for a cap with an ‘A’ on it and we decided that Bangkok was our best bet. I wanted ‘A’ because it’s the first letter of my name and it gives the cap a little character without being over the top.

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#PreBKKBabesTexts Pt. 2

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This is what the cap actually looks like. 

Most Dramatic Moment: There was one night when we had drinks at the Blue Sky Rooftop Bar. The pricing of the drinks and snacks wasn’t as pretty as the view from the top. We contemplated leaving but I’m glad we didn’t because we ended up opening up about things that not everyone at the table knew. It got a little emotional too and I think that’s why I’m calling it ‘dramatic’ – not in a mean way but because this wouldn’t have happened if the environment and situation was different.

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“It’s easy to get to the top when you have good people by your side.” Pt. 1

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Of course, Chels had to ruin the picture of my drink.

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Selfie from the top Pt. 1

The trip confirmed that I prefer shopping as opposed to experiencing the culture when travelling. It was a memorable trip and I am thankful that Jamie and Chelsea had their cameras so that we pretty pictures to look back at.

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Another one of my favourite pictures from the trip.

Our flight back was the night before our graduation. I remember my Brother picking me up at the airport and me unpacking and resetting everything in my room before getting some rest. Graduation was meaningful because it marked the official ending of my DTVM chapter. Added bonuses were me being able to see everyone again – much like a reunion show on reality TV shows – and also getting some recognition for all the hard work over the past three years in the form of an award. My parents came down and so did Rosydi and Azfar – the two close friends from secondary school that I was travelling to KL with.

Back together again less than 12 hours later. I remember us surprising Shaf with a Kylie Jenner lip kit. Jamie and Chels had to do all the coordinating with the seller while we in BKK and Shaf had no clue.

I think I will print this out as a polaroid.

It was a pretty interesting experiencing working with these seven people in the CASS Club.

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They got me a broccoli as my graduation flower. Thanks guys!

 The 4D3N KL trip had lesser planning as compared to the BKK trip or at least I wasn’t that involved in the planning as Azfar handled most of it. I was pretty reluctant to go on this trip especially since my enlistment was a week away. But I have no regrets as KL turned out to be better than I expected it to be.

Highlight of the Trip: Visiting the KL Tower would be a highlight because of the sky box. It reminded me of the Willis Tower in Chicago which I remember seeing on TV. I did have to do a little conquering of my fear of heights since the base of the sky box was see-through too. But surprisingly, it was also a really great place for pictures.

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“It’s easy to get to the top when you have good people by your side.” Pt. 2

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Here’s another picture of what my cap looks like. And yes, those are ice cream cones on my socks.

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Gotta spread my wings and fly away.

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Selfie from the top Pt. 2

 

Best Buy: I have been searching book stores for both of Andy Cohen’s books. You probably have never heard of Andy. He’s basically the guy behind The Real Housewives and he has his own talk show titled, Watch What Happens Live! and a radio show too. So I guess you could say he is one of my inspirations as I would love to be doing what he is doing. That is why I have been searching for physical copies of his books even though I have already read eBook versions of them. And I managed to find his first book, ‘Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Line of Pop Culture.’ It was pretty pricey but I think cheaper than ordering it online (considering the shipping cost.)

Most Dramatic Moment: Riding an ATV was really scary. It was literally an uphill battle and at one point, the instructor even asked me if I wanted to continue or ride with him instead because I was struggling so much. I think at least two of our vehicles broke down at different points which meant we had to wait for a replacement vehicle to be driven up to where we were stranded. It also started raining halfway through. That was when Azfar and I contemplated ending the journey there and returning back. But we decided to continue. I also remember Azfar and Rosydi being stuck pretty far back and the instructor having to drive back to check on them. This meant I was left alone in the middle of nowhere, waiting for five to ten minutes. The return journey was a lot easier probably because it was downhill. As much as I dreaded it while it was happening, I’m glad I rode the ATV because now I can say that I have done it. But if you asked me if I would do it again, I would say, ‘Once is enough.’ (I should also mention that my pants tore at some point during the ATV riding and I only realised it back at the hotel. R.I.P my olive green pants)

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I felt so ‘bro’ riding this ATV. (And the colour of my ATV matches my tee!)

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Candid Shot.

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At the rest point after what felt like a really long uphill ride.

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With the instructor.

Now, that you have heard about everything that happened prior to my enlistment, I can’t wait to tell you about what the past 16 weeks in the army have been like. Coincidentally, the first chapter in my army journey ends in three days with my graduation parade coming this Wednesday. So when better to reflect then at the end. Stay tuned!

Until next time,

PEACE OUT.

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