I’m still alive!

The countryside that I've left behind...

The countryside that I’ve left behind…

It will take a full 20 days after my arrival in Kobe to set-up my internet – the horror (I’m currently updating this from Starbucks). To keep myself from going insane with disconnection, I have been making all sorts of lists about my experiences so far. For example;

Food that I have come to enjoy in the last 6 years —

  • Lamb satay
  • Stingray & unagi (eel) — cooked
  • Japanese oysters & tuna — raw
  • Strawberry daifuku
  • Mikan (clementine) & kinkan (kumquat)
  • Sweet potato (purple-skinned ones)
  • Caramelized soybeans
  • Bamboo shoots (takenoko) & eggplants
  • Deep-fried chicken skin
  • Kaya toast & Pandan chiffon cake
  • Slow-roasted pork belly
  • Nasi lemak (Malaysian version)
  • Bak kut teh (Singaporean version)
  • Raw crab kimchi
  • Hakata-style ramen

It’s hard to imagine, but a few years ago I didn’t even know what half of the items on that list were! Compared to now, my life back then was quite narrow and I wasn’t in an encouraging environment (long story). With my birthday looming near the end of this month, I have been trying to think of ways I’ve grown up in the past 6 years, in the hopes that I can improve in the next 6 years to come. I have never regretted any of the big decisions (thankfully), but there are plenty of little moments that I’ve wished I could change…

The new view I have to get used to from now on

The new view I have to get used to from now on


If you could write a letter to your younger self right now, what would you write?

This is a little old, but I stumbled across the “Dear Me” project a while ago. Technically, you are supposed to write a letter to your younger, 16-year-old self — but because of my sheltered existence back then, I didn’t make many independent choices until I was in university. So for me, a letter to my 20-year-old self would probably include these points:

  • Start paying attention to the world earlier, and skip the phase where you took the BBC’s opinion as your own. Everyone is biased.
  • Don’t spend so much money on cheap clothing. You’ll end up throwing out bags of them within a year.
  • Don’t abuse other people’s trust. When you’re angry and you have someone’s Facebook password, you won’t do the mature thing. Better to go offline during those moments.
  • Recognize the toxic people in your life sooner and cut them out. Some bridges are just meant to be burned.
  • Sometimes, it’s not them, it’s really you.
  • That night everyone was on the beach stargazing? Enjoy the present company more, rather than think about the people absent.
  • I know it usually takes 2 years for you to warm up to people, but you’ll manage to shorten it to 2 months in Australia. You should try to do that again after you leave Perth.
  • Cook more while you still have a big kitchen to practice in.
  • You do deserve someone who has similar values and beliefs (maybe even a similar taste in music!). Learn to limit your compromises.
  • That guy who will talk to you when you’re crying on the bus? You should thank him more. That guy who will follow you from work onto the GO Train? You should brush him off earlier.
  • From the ever-wise “Dear Sugar”, it’s better to memorize this truth sooner rather than later: “Wanting to go is enough of a reason to leave”.

What would you put in your letter?

Hopefully by the next post I’ll have explored Kobe more and can post more pictures to show here. I have one more week of training before my new school year starts! I’m nervous, but I’m also excited to have more responsibilities in this smaller international school.

Until next time!