Broke Student’s Travels: Phuket 2018

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Before I flew, I kept thinking all sorts of odds and how it is possible for a (very) broke student like myself to travel to Phuket for 4 days and still have money to eat my meals and pay for my daily expenses in Singapore prior to and after the trip. So, I decided that I want to spend less than SGD400, and I kept to it. I didn’t want to limit the amount of fun I had, but thankfully my friends were YOLO enough to spend money without thinking. And TA-DA, here’s a short recount of how we spent our money in Phuket, solely based on my own budget!

I think it helped that we didn’t travel when it was the school holidays, although technically we were on OUR school holiday, but it was different because it didn’t involve mobs of children and their families. So… that way, we saved a little bit on air tickets, and also did not encounter insane crowds.

4 of us, all friends, travelled together. During the trip, we pooled our money in for the combined expenses such as meals and tour fees. We did not have many other things to buy, so most of our money were just put together for shared purposes 🙂 But for the benefit of ease, I will be calculating what I’ve spent alone, after dividing the amount by 4. One small tip is that everything is Phuket is bargain-able! We literally bargained our way through everything, otherwise I would have exceeded my budget BIG TIME.

Amount I spent before the trip: SGD79 (Jetstar airplane ticket, including credit card taxes & surcharge) + SGD30 (Accommodation from Airbnb) = SGD109

TOTAL BUDGET: SGD109 (above) + SGD370 to spend (I changed SGD400 worth though, excluding plane tickets and accommodation)

Exchange rate was approximately: SGD1 = 23.7 baht, but let’s just say that SGD1 = 24 baht. So in total, my spending budget was SGD370 = 8880 baht.

We did a very brief itinerary for the trip because all of us did not have time to do detailed planning, although we did research the places that we wanted to go to.

On our first day, we reached the Phuket International Airport at about 9:05am (there is a -1h difference in timing between Thailand and Singapore), and took a cab, which cost us 800 baht, and reached our Airbnb at about 10am. We weren’t allowed to check in yet, so we deposited our bags at our Airbnb and explored the area. We found a place for lunch, but it started raining, so we decided to go for a foot massage, run by the same person who owns the eatery, that cost us 200 baht per person.

The massage sucked, mainly because it was from a random place and my whole body felt dirty and oily afterwards. But we only did what we had to do to kill time before the rain stopped, and then we headed to a shopping mall about 20 minutes’ walk away from our Airbnb – Jungceylon Shopping Center. It was rather similar to Singapore’s shopping malls, just that their supermarket is definitely more affordable. So we bought about 1000 baht worth of groceries, snacks and necessities such as soap and shampoo. Do take note, we had to buy all these things because we did not check in our bags and was not able to carry more than 100ml bottles of liquids in our bags.

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We then took a walk back to our Airbnb and rested there for awhile before going out to look for tours that we could engage to Phi Phi Island and other islands that Phuket/Krabi is known for, such as Maya Bay. Instead of getting a tour, since it was all too expensive, we rented a car (Honda Civic) for 3600 baht and spent about 2800 baht on full tank petrol. Then, we drove out to have dinner at a great and cheap Mookata place, Khon Kaen Buffet BBQ, which was only about a 6 minutes drive away from our Airbnb. It cost us only 279 baht per person for unlimited servings, just as long as we order drinks, which they charge additionally. It isn’t too expensive though, we spent about 50 baht on a 1.5l bottle of water and another 40-50 baht on an orange juice, which was rather reasonable.

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After we filled our VERY satisfied bellies, we headed into a nearby 7-11 and grabbed masks for our faces, and alcohol as well as mixers for the night. Over here, we spent about 1200 baht as well.

Of course, we realise that we’re spending money a little too quickly, and immediately thought of ways to salvage the situation. We decided that we should stay the night in our Airbnb, and rest up for the next day. Since we did not manage to book the tour, we wanted to do it early the next day, as the Internet informed us that a ferry to Phi Phi Islands leaves the pier at about 8.30am, and our Airbnb was about 45 minutes’ drive to the pier.

It was still quite early and all of us got a little bit restless so we headed out anyway to explore a little bit of Bangla Street, which was about 3 minutes’ drive away from our Airbnb. We were slightly surprised, albeit excited, to find out that this entire street was crowded with nightlife entertainment 😉 Of course, we had already heard things about this place and decided that we wanted to explore Illuzion. It’s known to be 48th out of the world’s top 100 clubs, and it promises free entry with unlimited drinks for just 800 baht per person!! What’s not attractive about this place at this point? We decided that we will each save 800 baht for the last night, but we had to wake up really early the next morning, so we went back to rest for the night.

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At this point, we have already spent a lot of money, but it is the end of a day, so let’s do some accounting:

For 1 pax: (approximation)

200 baht (transport from airport to Airbnb) + 200 baht (lunch) + 200 baht (massage) + 250 baht (groceries = 1000/4) + 900 baht (car rental = 3600/4) + 700 baht (petrol = 2800/4) + 302 baht (mookata with drinks = 1206/4) + 250 baht (7/11 = 1000/4)

So in total, 3002 baht per person just on the first day. [SGD125]

We woke up at about 7.30am the next day, packed some of our things for beach day. Got into our cars and left to our first stop, Rassada Pier, where we enquired about the prices to travel with a tour group to the various islands around Phuket, such as Phi Phi Island and Maya Bay. TIP: always try to bargain the prices of the tour. Our tour was initially supposed to be 3200 baht for adults, and 2200 baht for children, but we managed to lower the prices to 1800 baht. At this point, it was rather satisfying as it was almost half the original price (until we found out later that there are other similar tours which offered us 1500 baht, but oh well). We did not have enough money on us, since I was only carrying about 4500 baht (pooled money), so we paid a deposit of 4000 baht, and left so that we can come back the next day to make it for the 9am ferry.

Beach-hopping was not disappointing at all. We drove through quite a few beaches, and took pretty amazing photos. Best part of this? We spent only 800-900 baht on food! We didn’t even blink an eye when we wanted to get a snack from a roadside stall, but then again it only cost us 150 baht. We ended our day by watching a breathtaking sunset at Karon Viewpoint, which did not disappoint AT ALL.

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Only 50% of the view at Karon Viewpoint.

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Second best part of the day – we got a seafood dinner treat that was about 1500 baht from our friend! He decided that he brought too much money, and since the rest of us we worrying about not having enough money to spend, he decided to be a very kind soul.

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OUR FREE MEAL!!!

After our hearty dinner we decided to go back and had some drinks while playing games, which turned out to be more fun than I expected. Learnt how to play bridge, which required poker cards – definitely something new. We finished more than three-quarters of the Chivas bottle before we finally called it a day and went to sleep.

Second day: 1800 baht (tour package) + 250 baht (lunch) + 30 baht (snack) = 2080 baht

Total: 3002 baht (first day) + 2080 baht (second day) = 5082 baht by the end of the second day [SGD211.75]

A short 5-6h sleep later, all of us woke up and prepared to head to the pier for our island-hopping day!! The islands’ views were phenomenal, and as much as I love sightseeing and observing nature, I got slightly bored when we were at our first island, prolly because we were given too much time to spend alone. We did not pay the extravagant amount of money to go jet-skiing, and neither did we go snorkelling because there really wasn’t much to see, since there were boundaries marked out, and it was probably spanned only about 20 metres or so. We sat and chilled by the beach with some fruit shakes, but they weren’t that good or worth the money at all, if you ask me.

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Our tour package included a lunch buffet at one of the islands. Although it wasn’t anything deluxe or extravagant, I would say it was pretty worth the view and money! (Especially because we didn’t have to fork out anymore)

At Phi Phi Island, we were given the opportunity to snorkel! I didn’t go down into the water because I was on my period, but I wasn’t too sad because I’ve already done this before. So I watched my friends from the boat, and hoped they had loads of fun while I was on the boat, stuck with family members yelling at each other to watch their safety.

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The next highlight was visiting the Monkey Beach, where monkeys were so brazen they raided bags if they saw any, and even humans while they were taking photos. Funny story, one of the monkeys (quite obviously the alpha one), boarded our speedboat as we were alighting and raided our trash can! Our captain tried fighting it off, but it just took a seat and started drinking our bottle of soft drink. Eventually, our captain had to lure the monkey out of the boat by offering one of our pineapples – he jumped into the sea and tada, that did it. The monkey also jumped off the boat in an attempt to eat the pineapple. We mainly stood in the sea area where there were less monkeys, and tried to protect my drawstring bag from getting raided (because seriously, a monkey jumped onto another man’s bag without warning, and it was almost impossible to swing it off). Then we snapped a photo together and took off :’-)

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As we visited Maya Bay, the skies started getting a lot darker and the winds started getting stronger, so our captain cut short our trip there and made it a 20 minute one. We barely made it back to the boat before it started raining rather heavily! An advice: don’t act strong and sit at the front deck because you’ll never make it out alive and unfrozen. We almost did that, keyword almost. By the time we got onto the mainland, which took about an hour’s ride, we changed and got into our car and headed for an early dinner. We order quite little, but somehow, it was the best meal that we ate in Phuket. While eating, we saw a double rainbow too! How beautiful can life get?

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Went back to our Airbnb, showered and headed out to Bangla Street for the night!!! The best part about Phuket’s clubs was that there is no need to dress up AT ALL. Even slippers and shorts are allowed. Say no more, because girl got really drunk after at least 7 drinks and I didn’t even know what happened during our last hour in the club :”) IT WAS FUN NONETHELESS, and I would definitely recommend going there for the experience. One thing though, the music wasn’t fantastic but I guess this depends on the DJ as well.

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We drove back to our Airbnb. In our defense, our friend was not that drunk and the maximum speed we could go on Phuket road was like 30km/h, PLUS we drove as carefully as we could, so that was okay to us at the very least. I immediately fell asleep, not realising that in Nate’s words from Gossip Girl, I smelt like the floor of a brewery, literally. Somehow, I woke up the earliest the next day and upon smelling my hair, I got right out of bed to shower, and let me tell you, I have never felt so refreshed.

Third day: 300 baht (fruit shakes) + 150 baht (dinner) + 800 baht (Illuzion) = 1100 baht

Total: 5082 baht + 1100 baht = 6182 baht [~SGD258]

We woke up about the time we needed to check out, so we packed up real quick and checked out, using our car as temporary shelter. We went for a Thai massage at Sweet Lemongrass Massage after some rather deluxe lunch, considering we tried to scrimp on meals for the past few days. As much as I disliked people touching any parts of my body excessively, the Thai massage relaxed some of my muscles to a slight extent. We took about 1.5 hours for the massage, and by the time it was done, it was also about time to return our car. By this time, we only use about half the tank of fuel that we had pumped on the first day despite having travelled almost the entire Phuket. So if you are thinking of renting a car, my advice is that only pump half the tank, and then if it’s not enough, go pump it again.

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When we went to return our car, we realised that the agency who rented us the car had closed their shop for the evening to have their meal, so after we called them, we took the car out to Patong Beach and dinner. Funny how we stayed so near Patong Beach but throughout the 4 days we did not visit it until the very last day. We had a subpar dinner nearby, which cost us another about 1000-1200 baht, before returning the car and headed to the airport for our flight at 10pm.

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Fourth day: 600 baht (lunch) + 590 baht (havaianas slippers) + 50 baht (mango) + 250 baht (massage) + 300 baht (dinner) + 225 baht (transport to airport) = 2015 baht

Total: 6182 baht + 2015 baht = 8197 baht

Aaaand that was the end of our 4d3n trip. I would like to think that we did pretty well with our time management because we did everything that we wanted to do, but I cannot say the same about our wealth management because the fact is that we did underestimate the amount of money that we spent. Mainly because we initially wanted to parasail, jetski, and do other water sports, but did not account for that in our budget. I guess our trip turned out to be chill instead, which wasn’t that bad of a transition!

TOTAL EXPENDITURE: ~ 8500 baht (including all the snacks, drinks and random little bits (like sunglasses) that I forgot to include/forgot how much it cost)

We were rather sad it ended so quickly, because before we really got into the mood to relax, we were already packing our bags. However, I would not suggest staying in Phuket for more than 4-5 days because it really gets boring, especially if you are used to the hustle and bustle of the city.

‘Til next time!

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Unpleasantries

Back here again with somehow, time to come on this site. Maybe I’m not looking into my planner because I don’t want to find more things to do. Maybe I’m here because I needed a release and I haven’t written in so long. This is barely decent writing, but I hit the bookmark icon on my chrome page and just started typing anyway. Life has a funny way of expressing its discomforts, like throwing obstacles at us innocent, good-willed beings. Hey, who said this had to make sense? Maybe this is about the unhealthy environment that I somehow got myself into, and am trying to get out of but still kind of trying to know the situation. Y’know, gossip. Then there is the part where I don’t know if I should tell someone that they are starting to change into a personality that I don’t particularly adore. Oh, or it could be the upcoming things to worry about but I’m not looking into my planner so I wouldn’t know. Okay that’s it, I’m looking into my planner, bye.

To 2017

2017 IS OVER?!

How did that happen? Oh my, time flew by and I was totally not ready for the year to be over and then 2018 just arrived. If anyone asked me what I did in 2017, I don’t think I would have time to finish describing everything that happened within an hour. Here are just some of the things that I have completed/accomplished.

  • I got 95/100 for a paper that I wrote.
  • I passed my driving test.
  • I withdrew from studying at SIM.
  • I went for an admission interview and test at NTU (and thought I nailed it).
  • I matriculated as an undergraduate at NTU.
  • I survived NTU’s sports camp.
  • I entered sports club and became a programmer (someone who plans).
  • I am part of Surf N Sweat 2018’s organizing committee.
  • I finished a semester in school with results that isn’t too shabby.

With that, it feels like I am forever busy.

This year taught me a lot more about prioritising and learning how to reject things that did not appeal to me. Before this, I was a sucker to any requests or favours that my friends would ask of me, just because I thought they would do the same if I had asked them of the same things. GUESS WHAT? Not everyone strives to be kind.

Saying no has always been a struggle for me because it’s just not programmed in me. And that is why I did badly in school – I never refused an offer to go out for a walk, to play a “short” game of ultimate, etc etc. This reduced my time for studying, which in turn caused me to sacrifice sleep, anddd resulted in my horrible vegetable results. Oh well, those ultimate frisbee games were fun though, so I don’t know if I can say that I regret those choices *shrugs*. But in 2017, I started saying no. Multiple times, and I learnt a little trick or two about rejecting people. So, there’s that. What I learnt in 2017 #1 🙂

I also learnt that not everybody who said they will always be there for you, will actually be there for you in times of need. In 2017 it got pretty obvious. Fact is, when people say they will be there for me, I take it for real. Those words always mean the world to me when people say it because it’s like a little promise they’re making with my heart. It’s just regretful that not everyone means it, and not everyone will fulfil it. That’s lesson #2, which I somehow learnt the hard way.

In 2017 a mentor told me it’s all about prioritising. It’s never just about time management. You can manage everything you have in the world but if you do them at the wrong time, it’s still pointless. Prioritising is key, and that’s 2017’s most important lesson #3. To-do lists were always my favourite things to write/plan, but getting down to doing the tasks written on them, is the difficult part. SO, I have learnt that deadlines are absolutely salient to abide by, and that in order to meet them I need to start getting my shit together, which means I need to start prioritising. That was what I did and I think I did pretty well at it!

2018 is a brand new year, but it was one I did not anticipate. Every past year, I would so impatiently wait for the new year to arrive for no reason. This year, I kinda dreaded the arrival of 2018. Now that 2018 has come, I am glad it’s going well so far. Any disaster that occurs in January, I’d attribute it with my fear of 2018’s arrival, for sure. And I don’t want that to happen.

Even though this almost never works out, I was asked what my new year’s resolution was. This year, I will strive to be a better friend and a better person as much as I can, on my own terms. Honestly, my terms are not that difficult to meet, it’s just a few simple principles I’m sure many people keep to. So here’s hoping that I would not violate these terms!

Wrote this ages ago when the year started but i don’t know why i didn’t get to posting it. Here u go, kikym. another year filled with things that you want to remember, but no longer can.

University Journey #4

I never really talked about how much I wanted to enter a local University, and by local I meant NUS, NTU or SMU. This post will not be a follow up from the previous UJ post, but will instead, be something I will look back upon and think, thank goodness I wrote down how I felt.

The context is, in such a small city-state like Singapore, it is imperative that one gets a university degree from a local university, which are already mentioned above. It is so conceited of Singaporeans, I’m aware, but it’s the reality here. Private institutions like SIM and Kaplan just aren’t as recognised as the three universities, now six when we include SUSS, SIT and SUTD because they have also become autonomous universities. Okay, calm down for a moment if you are from a Private Education Institution (PEI) and you think I’m saying this to belittle you, because no, I’m not doing that. A year ago, before I matriculated here in NTU, I enrolled in a PEI (SIM-UB) and I still think that’s a decision I will never, ever regret. I did that so that I could have a university to study in like everybody else but what I got out of it was beyond amazing – great friends, a quality education and most of all, any negative notion that I had about PEIs were thoroughly and sincerely obliterated. But this is not what this post is about; I’m writing about my feelings when I received my results. Here goes.

This particular post was written the day I received my results, 4th March. Then I wrote this, and this. As you can see, I was trying to avoid feeling anything. In all honesty I expected myself to get into SMU, my dream school. When I received their rejection email (it was the last rejection email I received), I archived it and tried to pretend that it didn’t happen and I could wait for something that I wanted to see in my inbox. For three whole days, I went out with my friends, ate, talked and laughed like nothing was fazing me and avoided checking my email so I could deny whatever was happening: I had no university offers. 

When I settled down to face reality, I did not know what to do. I was at a complete loss. You would not believe the number of times I went to the different universities’ websites to check if I could apply again. I was living in total denial until I realised that it was already June and I had to do something before I had to take a gap year (which I considered, but realised that with expectations and my discipline, must not happen). This feeling is definitely horrible and I told myself countless times that I would not want to feel this way ever again in my life, albeit knowing deep down that someday I might crash harder than this.

I tried not to feel anything. Fear, sadness, anger, I did not want to feel anything at all. After speaking to a friend, I plucked up an enormous amount of courage to apply for SIM-UB and got in, thank goodness. I told myself again and again that it’s alright, it will be alright, and everything will be just fine. But I was fooling no one. At this point, I had to face everyone’s gaze on my reaction to finding out that I was to enter a PEI.

The higher the expectation, the bigger the disappointment.

What a quote to describe me and what I was at that point in time. My ego was crushed beyond belief and I tried to drown myself in dramas and series that I could watch; it was the only way for me to deal with my emotions.

As I told my friends and relatives that I was heading to SIM, I resented myself for not feeling pride in me when I spoke to them. I resented the fact that I was heading there instead of SMU, or NTU. Nothing seemed like it could diminish this feeling so I tried to work and shop alone more so I needed to see less of people I knew who would ask about school-related stuff. Again, using avoidance to deal with problems.

The gist of this post, basically what I wanted to say was, if you are reading this because you are googling “what to do if I have bad results”, “which university courses accept low rank points”, or “do gap years help with university application”, and somehow came across this post on the Internet, don’t be daunted by the very limited options you seem to have. You are probably feeling shitty and maybe you feel like a wreck. You’ve gone through many, many websites, you’re frustrated that they don’t tell you what to do and that makes you mad because you just want a straight up answer, you just want to see one that’s written, to feel acknowledged because you can’t believe you’re the only who feels/have felt this way. But let me tell you this, you will eventually be alright. The only way to handle this situation is calmly. You can tide through anything as long as you believe in yourself. Look at me, I survived this. It took me more than a year to do so, but I’m here now and I’m more contented. Like I said, I would never regret enrolling in SIM, I was so much happier there in comparison to being here in NTU. It’s so difficult to put into words but until now, I have no regrets in choosing NTU over SIM (find out how here).

Ultimately, truths can be so wounding, even more so when trying to handle them with care. I wanted to write this so that I will always remember how painful it was when I received my results, and when I faced rejection after rejection. It was tough but I got through it, chin up. As time passed from the time I received my results, my heart became numb. And writing these UJ posts unfroze my apathetic heart. The next UJ post will take awhile. I don’t think I’m ready to share and neither can I. But nevertheless, let’s face it, regardless of what happens, writing will always be my solace.

Avoidance

I like to be excited over things that are worth anticipating. Just very recently I bought a pair of glasses from Visual Mass while they were on a 1 for 1 discount, and was informed that these glasses will only arrive in late December. THESE are the kinds of small joy that I genuinely look forward to receiving in my life. It’s like a preordered little present to myself for Christmas! I’m completely loving this feeling at the moment.

BUT, what I tend to avoid talking about (unless you’re a really close friend), is the reason that I’m so adamant to get a new pair of glasses even though my current pair of glasses are completely fine.

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Here’s why I don’t like sharing: Avoidance

I have always known that my way of dealing with problems, or just things that I generally dislike… is to avoid it. It isn’t the best way to “confront” my problems (yes, I know how oxymoronic this sounds), but I recalled this incident that happened when I was in preschool, and that was what prompted this post.

It was a normal day where we would board the school bus and my neighbours and I would be scurried off to school. Such a normal day would entail me crying all the way to where we were supposed to board the bus, and screaming my head off when it came to boarding the bus; I disliked going to school, even though I enjoyed learning very much. Long story short, I forgot why I was getting scolded, but on the way home one day, I was reprimanded by the “bus aunty”, as we would call her. I was sitting on the inside of the two seats on the bus, the window seat, and my then-best friend sat beside me, near to the aisle of the bus. While I was getting rebuked, I never stopped looking at the hole that was formed in between my then-best friend’s neck, and the bus seat, even when I was told by the bus aunty to look at her while she is teaching me a lesson.

This action of looking at that hole, I realised that it is a form of avoidance, and I have practiced it since I was five years old. How unbelievable does that sound? In school, I have always been known to be the one to confront any problems that I had with other schoolmates, or even teachers. You can ask my secondary school friends, and even though I’m not proud of this episode at all, I once quarrelled with a teacher because he was wrong, and I was right. I won that argument, but the proud feeling that I had only lasted until I graduated. So what kind of problems do I avoid? Personal problems.

The reason that I seem so carefree and unplagued with problems, is because I almost never admit to any personal problems that I have. And in many cases, I don’t think I’m wrong to do so, but recalling the incident in preschool made me aware that this was the way I dealt with problems. I never thought this was a worry, but maybe the way I handle complications and issues could be slightly altered. I don’t know.

Anyway, here’s the story of a boy who faced his adversity (which could be seen as a problem) with an absolute display of dignity. Every single time I see this trailer, I cannot help but feel emotional :”) I cannot wait to watch it be it in cinemas or online.

University journey #3

A year in UB-SIM. If I had to use one word to describe it, it would be delightful. There is no way to describe all the lovely occurrences I’ve had in that school, even though I might not have fully immersed myself in the “uni experience”. Ahhh, time flies, and what was meant as an unplanned stunt actually landed me right in NTU, where I am currently attending. Read on to find out how this happened.

It was the time when my brother received his A-level results. He was deciding which university to go to and was taking his time since he had another two years (due to NS) to choose where he wanted to go. It was during this period of time that I contemplated long and hard as to whether I should apply to a local university as well, just to try, y’know. No harm, right? So… I took the leap of faith. There are of course other personal reasons that compelled me to apply for a local university again, but if you would like to know about that do ask me personally!

It took me awhile to finally decide to reveal to my friends that I am transferring to NTU, and I would therefore not be in the same classes as them anymore. It was a difficult process for me personally because it meant that I had to deal with my own emotional turmoil, and my friends were mostly saddened by this piece of news. I did not expect it to be difficult at all, but my friends were the main reasons that I was so reluctant to leave. I eventually did drop all my modules for the summer semester and applied to be dropped out of school completely. As I did that, I promised myself that in this summer break, I must make as much time as possible for the people who matter most to me.

Indeed, that was what I tried to do – I went exercising weekly with my friend, worked more, found another job, visited my friends in SIM as often as I could and had meals with them. It was a fulfilling summer because I truly spent time on the things that mattered most to me.

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Then August came and I was slightly daunted by the fact that school was going to start. Out of the blue, I received a text asking if I want to be part of NTU’s sports camp. I never signed up, but my friend asked if I wanted to be in and I had to be available for all 4 days and maybe a day before that. I hesitated a little because it was rather last minute and I had to clear a lot of things on my schedule but I went for it in the end. YAY. Thank you friend, for the rec 🙂 Truly an experience I would never forget; I made my first friends in NTU there, and even my first friend from my course was from sports camp, although we didn’t know each other from the camp itself.

It was hella fulfilling, and I seriously wouldn’t have had it any other way. Thank you SU24 for this wonderful wonderful memory that I know I will keep close to my heart 🙂

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EXCITING EXCITING!! After sports camp came the post sports camp activities which was mega mega fun!!! It was during this period that I struggled with time management because I suck at it HAHAHA. Some of my friendships with people I saw a future with were strengthened, thank goodness, and it was also during this period of time that I saw who will take the extra step to initiate a meet up with me even though I was extremely busy with different things.

Thank you so much to friends, whether you’re from NTU or not, who bothered to ask for meet ups, who initiated conversations with me and who took the time to think of me – y’all are the best. I don’t know what I would do without you guys in my life. Thank you a million times, x

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Now, I’m in a happy place. Is this the “uni experience” people speak about? I’m extremely thankful that I got the chance to be part of all these!! This was a very summarised version of what I felt and underwent in NTU so far though. If I had to describe whatever I have went through in NTU in a word, I would say… exhilaratingI have no idea how to express my gratitude to everyone who made it possible for me to have this wonderful experience, but I’m really super super appreciative!!!!!

Things definitely changed, as did my mentality when I applied for SIM vs now, but one thing I know for sure is that there was no compromising of the “uni experience” in SIM for me, it was only because I didn’t pursue the things that encompassed this phrase!! Do not ever, because of this post, think that SIM is boring or has no place for fun whatsoever. In fact, it’s the total opposite 🙂 Y’KNOW, as I’m typing this I’m really missing SIM – the warmth it brought me when I realised I was returning to school every single day to a small group of familiar faces, to people who I know will be my friends even when I don’t have time to get out of Pulau NTU to meet them, the people who make an effort to ensure I’m motivated. Even though I’ve left them, a piece of me will always, always stay in SIM, x

Stay tuned for part 4 of this crazy journey!!

Little stories that occupy my mind in the middle of the night #1

This late night storytelling is about an Indian man who I came across, but never had the chance to properly meet.

Seeing him made me so confused – why would someone, or anyone, walk around the carpark with a cloth at 11pm, and somehow looked like he wasn’t going to walk away? As this thought crossed my mind, my father greeted him with a smile and a wave from inside the car. So obviously I asked him if and how they knew each other, and my father replied, this guy washes cars for people for $30/month! When I heard $30, my brain took a double take and I just had to ask, $30/month only? What does he survive on? My father instantly replied, this is his side job, he has a day job and he washes cars for people in this carpark on weekday nights.My heart stopped beating for a second.

All I could think of was how tired he has to be, and how straining his financial situation must be, for him to be washing cars and selling his body to this manual labour that most people would gladly pay to escape from. Yet, he smiles brightly with warmth at every customer as he recognises the cars that are driven into the carpark every single weekday night.

I wanted to probe more to see if my father has any more answers to the many unanswered questions in my head, but I was starting to choke up from thinking about this man’s plight. Pity is a strong word to use, but I guess I would say I sympathise with him, not in a “he’s poor so I sympathise him” way, but rather in a “I wish I could be as strong as him” way.

Typing this made me emotional, only because I realised for a fact that I am not treasuring what I have. Everyone focuses on the things they wish to have, but forgets to be appreciative of the things that they already have. In order to smile so warmly at every single customer, you must be truly contented with what you have. Here’s to this Indian man who knocked some sense into me – thank you for teaching me so much; even though I have never spoken to you, you are a true inspiration and I hope you will strive on and achieve whatever you want!