Absence

I’ve been in Sabah for almost six months now. Being away from what I’m used to makes me think about all that I’ve had and all that I miss. Words won’t do much for this post.

1. My family

The Elders

The Elders

The Young 'Uns

The Young ‘Uns

Aunties & Uncles Pt1

Aunties & Uncles Pt1

 

Even More Family

Even More Family

Possibly The Noisiest Family Member

Possibly The Noisiest Family Member

There’s more, trust me.

2. My friends

IMG_5788

Special Girls

Special Girls

 

SONY DSCWithout these people, Moscow would have been a 7-year long drag. It’s so easy to think of any of them and smile. Or swear.

3. Moscow

Arbat Street

Arbat Street

The Moscow Metro

The Moscow Metro

 

 

Winter- The Longest Season

Winter- The Longest Season

There’s so much more about Moscow I miss, but the laptop’s on the verge of going nuts.

Trust me, there will be a Part Two to this. Probably with more words.

The Shallow End Of The Mind

You may not know this, but from September 2011, most of my blog posts have been written on sick days. I say “most” because today is an almost-sick day, meaning I’m not sick enough to justify missing class, but I’m definitely not healthy enough to want to go either.

So, in the newly discovered tradition of blogging when I’m not in my proper senses, here’s a few updates on what’s been going on in my life.

1. Lent is almost over. I’d say it’s going well, seeing that I’ve not had the urge to lick myself in a feeble attempt to taste meat. Very unlike last year.

On the downside, I’ve had so much soy to eat for the past 5 weeks that I’m breathing estrogen, but the… ahem.. soft, curvy bits remain unchanged.

2. Internal Diseases has been awesome. The bees’ knees, I dare say. I mean the rotation, not actual internal diseases. The actual diseases suck muddy porcupine balls. Of course, it has EVERYTHING to do with my young, cute, adorably sweet, English-speaking teacher. He makes me want to sit and read about electron transfer in mitochondria and the influence of the cyclooxygenase pathway in the clotting system. My uni should learn from this and hire teachers who didn’t have to take a break from their education to serve in World War II.

3. Moscow still has snow and subzero temperatures. You’d think that I’ll be used to it after 7 winters, but no. I still bitch and moan about it like a whiny kid. It doesn’t help that people are doing things like parading about in their underwear while I’m trying to convince myself that I can wear a thinner jacket without feeling like my arms are going to fall off.

That’s about it, really. I’m sorry this is so dull. Here’s a picture of a hairless guinea pig to make up for all the time you just wasted.

Hairless Guinea Pig @ Skinny Pig

No Queen In Sight

I hate travelling. I hate looking for flights, I hate looking for accommodation I can afford. I especially hate trying to pack for a trip. I hate the way I try to take the bare essentials because I hate lugging a heavy bag around, and I hate myself more for realising that something I considered a luxury while packing is actually something necessary when I’m already at my destination.

I hate sitting in a plane for hours, I hate the fact that I might develop a blood clot in my leg that could kill me (this one’s a bit of drama; I’m so short that any economy class seat on any airline feels like I’ve got business class leg room) and most of all, I HATE the way I look rubbish in all my holiday photos because I lacked the essentials that I considered too luxurious to pack.

I love being in new places, though. I love sightseeing and taking pictures of stuff, captions all formed in my head. I love observing people do what they do best and I love gobbling down local cuisine.

This winter hols, I decided to get off my wobbly butt and leave Moscow for a week. My friends chose all sorts of exotic places where you’d need visas and a phrasebook. I’m a lazy git, so I chose London.

Well, that’s only half true. I chose to go to London during my final winter break because I wanted to be around people who speak a language I know well and I wanted to see people I’d been dying to meet, like my cousin who I’d not seen for almost 11 years and friends from Twitterland.

I could do the whole day-by-day thing and bore you to death, but I’m nice so I’ll write stuff worth mentioning. And you’ll be happy about it because if I write everything I remember, you might get fired for spending your entire work day reading a shitty blog post about a place so many people have been to before.

Best Place I Visited

Hands down, this was the ZSL London Zoo. Okay, I admit I have a great fondness for animals and to be perfectly honest, the zoo was the only place I really planned on visiting. You could throw me any map of London and I’d be able to spot it.

It was worth all that anticipation. I spent four hours gaping at all the animals and taking crappy pictures. The crappiest of the lot was a picture of a cockroach which cemented once and for all that not even a glass enclosure was going to calm my feeble katsaridaphobic heart. Look:

The Best Picture I Could Take With Shaky Hands

And this is a picture of a tarantula I took right after:

The Insect I Wouldn't Even Mind As A Pet

 

To top it all off, the weather was great and I managed to take a nice long walk through Regent’s Park and saw a squirrel making friends/ harassing a baby in a stroller.

Best Purchase

The closest to a souvenir from London that I bought is probably the fridge magnet and postcard from, yup, you guessed it, the zoo.

Of course, if you knew me well enough, you’d know that I’m in heaven when surrounded by books. I attacked bookstores with a passion and probably would’ve bought enough books to wipe out a rain forest if I didn’t have a tiny-ass bag. I may have bought a gorgeous evening dress, Jamaican cock flavoured soup mix and a hairbrush in London, but this book is the BEST thing I own at the moment:

Source Of Joy

I was so excited about this book that I started on it even before I was done with Cat’s Cradle. The only reason I stopped reading it was because people at the airport were looking at me funny when I kept laughing out loud.

Strangest Thing Heard In Public

“Shut up, you fucking Christian whore!”

This was on a bus, said by a guy who bumped into a woman with groceries. Why was this strange to me, you ask? Fine, you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

I have no fucking idea.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside..

Here’s a little update:

1. I’ve fallen twice and had a major slip once, all in the span of two weeks. I’m expecting the lower half of my body to be very, very sore. After the icing session over the weekend, I’ve decided to just fall whenever gravity pulls me.

2. Christmas was awesome and tiring. Here’s proof:

This MAY have been after the eggnog

Nothing like 'Christmas in a Cup' to start the day

Us Girls Being Fancy at Lotte Plaza

The Mandatory Party of the Bekker Family

See? FUN.

3. Classes are over, which means exams are around the corner. I have the pleasure of sitting for FOUR papers this winter. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see a post after the 9th of January.

4. November and December have been months of eating, drinking and being merry. In other words, I cannot fit into ANYTHING. Hopefully stress metabolizes all my jolly bits.

5. A new year will show up in a few days. Hopefully it starts with a bang the way this year did. A lot happened, but nothing I feel like mentioning now.

2010 in a (large) nutshell coming soon. Preferably before 2011.

Skating Rink? Where??

Every year since 2005, I’ve been trying to prepare myself for winter. You’d think it would be easy after going through it every damned year, but no. Russia is a cruel bitch like that. Just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of it, something changes.

I know it’s not Russia’s fault per se for the schizophrenic weather. It’s all the crap people do to the environment. But to all the recyclers and hybrid users out there, I know and you know that we deserve karmic points of some sort.

I can’t exactly pinpoint when exactly winter began, but I’m assuming it’s the week the temperature decided to drop from +2 degrees Celsius to -16 degrees, without a hint of snow and wind blowing from every direction that can be pinpointed by a compass.

On the 4th of December, snow finally graced the streets of Moscow. Maybe not graced…more like bitchslapped. Point is, once it snows, it doesn’t feel so cold anymore. The weather is actually pretty bearable. What not many counted on was it to get so warm that the snow melted. Over the weekend, not only was the temperature back in positive numbers, it rained. The rain that would have been useful during the summer heatwave came upon us like a million elephants in the sky relieving themselves.

Here’s the thing about rain in winter: when it goes back to subzero temperatures, the water becomes ICE. Every single drop of water on the sidewalk is now a potential neck-breaker. There is now a layer of ice at least an inch thick EVERYWHERE.

Why have I decided to whine about this? Because whining is totally my thing. And I really don’t want to read about scarlet fever. Plus the damned ice made me fall on my poor (but fat) ass.

I’ve finished walking around my virtual New York and now I’m in Tokyo. Because of the weather and my recent flu, I’ve not been able to walk as much as I’d like to. Today, after class, I decided to walk home from the Metro station, just to see exactly how treacherous the path was. If it was alright, the plan was to walk to the Metro station every morning. It seemed fine, and my mind was drifting, thinking about a thousand things at once, telling myself that all geniuses do stuff that the rest of the world dismisses as ADD.

After about five minutes of walking, I reached a certain area where I thought, “hey, this is where I fell five years…FUCK!!!” Next thing I know, I’m sliding on my butt, legs in the air, looking like a tortoise on its back. Clearly, I don’t learn from my mistakes. I scrambled to get up and continued walking, hoping no one I knew was walking behind me.

You’d assume that I would get it in my head that it’s not really safe to walk until someone attacks the sidewalks with an ice pick. Humbug! I strutted (as much as a person with a bruised butt could strut) past every single bus stop. One stop away from my hostel lay about 3 metres of nothing but ice and scratch marks from those who had slipped before. I was literally at the bus stop, but I continued moving. My pride would not let me take the bus for one measly stop. I looked at the danger before me and figured that maybe if I made gliding motions, I could get across without too much trouble. Wrong. So very, very wrong.

I took my first step/glide and nearly fell. I tried to steady myself, but my feet just kept sliding back and forth without any actual movement forward. It was like a scene out of a cartoon. I don’t know how I did it ( sometimes the brain chooses to suppress traumatic events) but I got myself to the snow and trudged back home.

On the bright side, I got 95 Nike Fuel points and managed to cross the Rainbow Bridge. I also know that I had better keep my bus pass topped up till March.