Gare du Nord

Scene at Gare du Nord, GG Season 4 Episode 2 “Double Identity”

Paris, Gare du Nord

Paris, Gare du Nord

Blair : Just because you’re dressed poorly doesn’t mean you’re not Chuck Bass. 

Chuck : Why would I want to be him? 

Blair : You told me you got shot. 

Chuck : I’m surprised you didn’t shoot me yourself. 

Blair : I have. Many times. In my dreams. The good ones. But if you were really hurt, I would want to know. 

Chuck : When I woke up, my I.D. was gone. Nobody knew who I was. Nobody was coming to look for me. I realized I might be alive, but Chuck Bass didn’t have to be.

Blair : Changing your name doesn’t change who you are. 

Chuck : It’s a good start, a chance to live simply, earn people’s respect, maybe become a person someone could love. 

Blair : Someone did love you. And… You owe it to her… And everyone else you’re leaving behind not to run away, which is what you’re doing. And I don’t think that great man you’re talking about wanting to be is a coward. I think he would face up to what he did.

Chuck : I destroyed the only thing I ever loved. 

Blair : I don’t love you anymore. But it takes more than even you to destroy Blair Waldorf. 

Chuck : Your world would be easier if I didn’t come back. 

Blair : That’s true. But it wouldn’t be my world without you in it.

-

The day would come, surely, soon.

Moonly confessions: The overpowering emotions

For all the new readers out there, normally I write a monthly post whenever the full moon appears, as something bad/good normally happens during this period. Its effect could be subtle, almost unnoticeable at times. But on some occasions, the stuff going on around my life can be very obvious, with its effects on me being mindblowingly harsh, or incredibly empowering. It could be something bad, but it might be a life-changing, empowering experience too.

This month, or year, has been absolutely incredible. To think that we’re only in April makes me even more excited about what lies ahead. While everything that I say now sounds superstitious – with me being someone who never believes in these telekinetic forces – I strongly believe that if you pump all your energy into what you truly enjoy, you then create your own luck in life.

In case you didn’t know, this year’s Chinese zodiac represents the year of the horse, and this occurs every 12 years. The last time the year of the horse came about, I was graduating from primary school but had arguably my best year then, having a group of friends to rally around and overcame my appalling mathematical skills to graduate.

This year so far though, has eclipsed all that.

These 2 weeks especially, has given me energy that I have not felt since 2005, when Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League. That ecstasy, the pride of bringing a scarf to school, the energy that coursed around your body that made you feel invincible. And what surprised me even more was the number of other events that has culminated in such feelings, the endless happiness and adrenaline that makes you feel unbeatable, the vigour that courses through the most passionate people that trumps intellect, capital and politics.

Understand this feeling by positioning yourself in a situation where you never had anything given to you in your life. And when you disregard your doubters, face every challenge full-on, and blow every obstacle apart with dynamism and spirit – that is truly, sheer exuberance and might.

-

After all that pep talk, here’s the top 3 highlights for the month. These events have been exceptional in changing my life -

24 years finally coming to an end? #makeusdream

24 years finally coming to an end? #makeusdream

Liverpool – hiking may be my favourite sport, but I still haven’t forgotten my footballing heritage. From supporting a working-class, group-oriented football club, going through its pains and tragedies, but having the best voice and song in the world that to this day, still make my hairs stand, is something that would always belong to my character and its drive. There are 4 games left in the Premier League, and Liverpool’s at the top of the table. It has been 24 years since Liverpool were last crowned Champions of England, but it has also taken me 24 years to emancipate myself from the oppressive country where I was born. Though I was in London and without a TV set in front of me, once the final score was anncounced, I remembered cheering and being so ecstatic, the kind of scenes only remembered on the most joyful of occasions. I am in Europe now, the pinnacle of my dreams. And now, it’s Liverpool, our turn to hold aloft the trophy that has eluded us for too long. C’mon you Reds! YNWA!

Dare to dream

Dare to dream

Europe – I would live anywhere in the world, away from oppression and degradation. But the place I find most comfortable, most identifiable, is Europe. While I wouldn’t want to be drawn into the politics of each nation (I would probably write more about them in future posts), Europe has been incredibly accepting of me, with lifelong friends met and opportunities aplenty. If you told me a year ago, that I would be spearheading my own projects and developing so many skills away from the formal curriculum of Sociology, I might think that you were having a laugh! Either way, since discovering Europe as a kid, I have always wanted to travel here, and after going through one too many shit (and still going through them now), the dream has been held aloft but there’s still a long way to go from here. “Home is where your heart is” (former roommate of mine). And Europe is where my heart is.

Friends + Milkshakes = awesome combination!

Friends + Milkshakes = awesome combination!

Friends – These few weeks have been exceptionally breathtaking in terms of friendships. The rallying cry from people urging me to fight on, the believe and backing from everyone for me to achieve all my dreams in Europe. Everyone has been phenomenal. I don’t like to write about my most private moments here. But there is one where it has been exceptionally life-changing and taken me by surprise. I’m not sure how this private event might turn out, nothing is guaranteed in this world. But I’m sure it will grow similarly to how sheer will take people over the line. It has been terrifyingly wonderful, making one feel so vulnerable, yet triggering the side of me that thrives on the most difficult of situations, that mustering of energy that transcends physiological functions. This happy, private moment has lifted me into my Ivory tower, but I don’t intend to stop there. It may be frail but I want to build things further.

I think times now are defining my life further. So many moments now are pivotal to changing my life. That perseverance and determination has triumphed over the nightmarish spells of 2012. I don’t think I can be brought down anymore. People may have brought down Liverpool through the Hillsborough tragedy. It may have been 25 years, but that perseverance in the fans, that drive and belief in myself, a triumphalism even in the toughest of moments, I believe, my sheer will would shine through.

My belief is unstoppable.

“I haven’t seen this smile in your face before, this extra sparkle in your smiles. This extra energy in you” – a good friend

Insane schedule

To all my readers, I’m back! Rejoice!

But sorry to spoil it because I’m heading to London in a few hours, after being back just 24 hours earlier from Dundee.

Scotland was such a fantastic place, meeting new people, undertaking “simulated” diplomatic debates and visiting culturally sustainable sites in Findhorn (try pronouncing that!)

Spot your author

Spot your author

After every voyage, I tend to make comments on the programmes and activities, but this time, I find it quite fascinating looking at the distinction between the formal curriculum and the informal activities that took place.

In a sense, the conference made me enjoy non-formal activities and education more, adding fuel to my opposition against bureaucracy and rigidity of laws. It isn’t about writing up lines after lines of legislation, but rather the “food talk” and cultural exchange that takes place outside of the conference, where the proper diplomacy comes into play.

Who wants to exchange a discussion with one who just spills food all over da place? Ha!

Being non- and informal does mean you get down to the nitty-gritty works of ordinary people, forming relationships of cooperation rather than competition. Mixing with such a cosmopolitan group does mean your accent gets mixed up once again though!

Well I wouldn’t want this post to turn into something that sounds like a holiday post, because it defo wasn’t a holiday thing to me. I was speaking to a youth leader I worked with previously, and she was speaking of “tourism” in the conference and training sense around Europe. Well, being to such events, I must say it definitely narrowed my scope down to what I wanna do in the future to avoid the mess of touristic disguises under formalized settings.

Well lets see, so in the future, I would like to go for events and trainings such as >

  • Eating more food outside of conferences
  • Having more pub quizzes
  • Having loadsa after party dancing
  • Playing loadsa party games

Wait, isn’t that student life?

Ok jokes aside, I’m glad that such conferences raise my competency levels in some ways, and getting to meet life long friends and certain special people =)

Till I get back from London,

Bon journée! (Have a good day!)

Before I leave…

X marks the independent spot

X marks the independent spot

I found this title a bit depressing when I started the draft copy, since it sorta portrays me sending out a cry for help before my death or something.

But no, I’m actually leaving for Dundee for a youth conference on sustainability!

Without sounding too much like a cleric or some overly-glorified guy packed full of wisdom, I’m really looking forward to making new friends and obtaining the skills required for my own personal youth project in school! =DDD

Being in Scotland would be great too, especially given how close we are to the referendum on its independence. Oddly enough I was reading an article yesterday which spoke about how Scotland would be changing to driving on the right in its efforts to align with European identity. (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/01/scotland-driving-on-right-independence-road-scheme)

- - – - – - – - (It was an April Fools’ joke. As I’ve learnt from my housemate)

Initially I thought of taking away this “serious” portion of the post, but I think I should keep it, because it is just hilarious re-reading my often overly-passionate pro-Europe arguments.

Now, enjoy my humiliation, readers >

“Puzzling enough for me, how the whole independence fuss is about nationalism at work and yet, the measures taken should Scotland gain independence are all aligned towards friendly relations with the EU.

Whilst a single article isn’t necessarily gonna convert me into a “yes” for independence to Scotland, nor do I profess myself to be a complete pro-Euro supporter, the whole idea and gear towards EU membership and a stance with European identity resonates really well with me.

What’s in it for England then? Or the UK for that matter? Well I’ll like to see how things pan out, and over the next few years, see where my heart lies between the cultures and ideas of skeptics, supporters and neutrals alike.

But for now, I will stick to Paris and Reykjavik. Gooooooo Europe!”

A reality or illusion?

A reality or illusion?

 

Now, quit that laughter of yours >.<

200th post!

After posts of anguish, posts of laughter, posts of madness, I have finally arrived at my 200th piece of atrocious writing! Yay!

Instead of charting down my favourite posts or giving you a timeline to my past, I think this post should be a celebration of photos about people who have made this blog sustainable. It may not mean anything to the empty observer, but it would defo mean something to those who know it! =))

-

Now that's British

Now that’s British

Can’t live without these people. The French, the Spaniard, the Hebrew and the Swede. Whipping up a British meal despite *cough, speaking those languages… :P

Like a tourist

Like a tourist

The best melting pot social group on campus. Bonded by the secular language of… English French?

Tintagel and hiking

Tintagel and hiking

All the good o’ hikers/walkers who just love to get stuck in! The sport that has eclipsed football at the summit =)

Stimulating culturally competent set of people I've ever met

Most stimulating, culturally competent set of people I’ve ever met

In just 3 days, I got to open my innermost torments and actually have people who understand me. Being different and appreciating that difference is key to a better world.

No, if you think I'm pretty much a French in disguise, then you don't know me quite well yet

No, if you think I’m pretty much a French in disguise, then you don’t know me quite well just yet

Because this was the country (and still is), that gave me the greatest joy alongside a certain friend (curiously enough, French) – grins that I still can’t wipe off my face when I recall one of the best times of my life =)

Happy 200th Snowy travels!

So…

So after having virtually no one viewing my blog after !@#@#$$% weeks, due to my ridiculously busy schedule, I have finally sat down, stretched ma fingers and started typing.

Things were just so hectic for the past few weeks. If 30 minutes of spare time appeared on my calendar in between meetings/classes, that meant turning on the laptop and typing hundred words into my essays or just speed reading through some unread documents… and with the last 5 minutes of that spare time, speeding off to another activity.

So you ask – why do you go to party then? Well, without getting too technical here, if you read about social relationships, socials and hangouts are supposed to maintain your solidarity to the group. Mind you, I only hangout with people who I think deserve my attention. Else, I wouldn’t bother.

So… a frequent question people have complained or spoken to me recently has been – “what are you?” make up your mind!

And yes, that’s a perfectly legitimate question that they ask. Mind you, even I find myself quite confusing at times. But then again, by being undefinable, I am actually definable.

Therefore this post shall be another one of those magazine-like post to clear up all your queries and re-introduce new readers to my blog!

Culture – Much of what I take pleasure in mirrors that of the Icelanders. This is particularly important for me because through holding such beliefs, I essentially break away from the country where I was born in, which I have no pride or pleasure to write of. Icelandic culture take great pride in their literal work, especially poems and story-telling. It was truly amazing being in a café in Iceland reading a storybook. That was such a beautiful moment haha! Oh did I mention about hiking and horseback riding as well? The Icelandic way of life stipulates that you have an intricate connection with nature, which I totally identify with! ^_^

Ideologies – Marxist, left wing, feminist… you can label me all you want, but I would like to think that I am everything! Wanting to go to New York doesn’t necessarily make me a conservative overnight, no?

General attitudes – Gender equality (I expect the lady to pay as well, don’t get mad :P), independence and self-sufficiency. Never being serious in life. Everything is meant to be laughed at ^_^

Fashion – Timeless Parisian clothing. And if you think I’m rich, well, as far as I know, my closet must be the cheapest on campus. It’s about pairing up and dressing in a way that elucidates the Parisien culture. And of course, having the confidence to hold onto it makes a world of difference as well!

Mannerisms – The Japanese.

Friendship groups – I don’t really need 1000 friends to make me happy. I think I know who I like to be around with and that’s all that matters. But I am quite open to meeting new groups of people (even if they are at the opposite end of the scale). This is where the French model comes in isn’t it? The priority of the individual over the collective. Because once you form groups, its difficult to break into them. That’s why often your author can be seen running all over the place meeting new people and cultures, but always sticking to the people who I care about most ^^ (ohhh cheesy)

If you’re wondering why have I not put my characteristics down here, then because I think that’s where you should judge me. I really enjoy how people think of me. It shows that we all judge! And that the term is misused more often than not…

Most importantly, you should all judge me based on every single attribute, because I am only definable by being in relation to others :)

Le futur

For too long, this blog and my website has gone stale.

Oui, says the Parisien in me.

Essays, exams and a fashion show has played catchup to my life.

Qu’est-ce que tu fais? (What are you doing?) Asks the Parisien

Write something!

Goodness! I need a place to live, a place to work during the summer too! Noooo!

But I want to travel too. I want to meet someone. Not a girl, but a very important person and one who changed my life.  À Paris, we shall.

And then I wondered, rationally, surely it wasn’t some coincidence, my ties to a country, its behaviourism and character. Surely there must be some causation going on?

Iceland was the answer. And Greenland too, though I haven’t been there, something just resonates within me. Some sort of mystic force that seems to expound from within the innermost mountains, a spellbinding energy that connects me and the most uncharted countries in the world.

Traditions so deep rooted, so mystifying, so intense. Only made possible by the Ancients, the mountains that permeates notions of time and space. The Enlightenment of nature, dating back centuries.

The countries where I would’ve called home if not for the bureaucracy.

L’Islande et Le Groeland

Upernavik

Upernavik. La maison futur

Superhero candy

We all love candy. We all love sugar. That spike in effervescence to our heads, sending a colourful spin and hyper activity to the neuro systems in the body.

Wouldn’t it be cool, if we had a sweet or candy as our best friend? Or superhero!

As much as I would like to have Ferrero Rocher as my best friend, I’m going with Mars to be my lifelong companion.

Wouldn't it be out of this world if Mars comes alive?

Wouldn’t it be out of this world if Mars comes alive?

The universe would never be the same again with Mars. He would have excellent knowledge of the solar system and the universe, talking non-stop about the meanings of each star and my astrology prophecies.

Mars would constantly take the mickey of Venus, lauding his own planet and people. In fact, the rivalry would be so intense that there would be a need to write a book about it.

When Venus needed help, she would call forth Snickers. In the boxing chocolate ring, Snickers would let fly his nuts (oops) while Mars would employ his sticky caramel and absorb the impact, reflecting Snickers’ nuts back at him! Talk about having the balls to do that!

Being all tired and thirsty after the matchup, Mars would gladly treat himself to his very own creation -

Packed full of energy!

Packed full of energy!

The Mars’ Milk! No artificial colours or sweeteners, packed with vitamins, minerals and calcium, Mars clearly puts Snickers to shame with such an all-encompassing package!

With a friend as sweet as Mars, having the character of chocolate, caramel and nougat put together, we will definitely rule the galaxy together! ;)

Lose your head room

Rooms are magical things. They drive you to near insanity, they invigorate energy that makes you lose your head to the person in front of you. Rooms can be full of unsettling memories, rooms can be a cult full of vitality.

I need my rooms messy, but not dirty, unless its dirty for the right reasons. I need my room to be scented, to send heads spinning the moment you get in. Ideally, my room needs the right furniture, the right material for that furniture as well. After that, it needs the right curtains, pillow cases. It needs that handy lamp or switch beside the bed to change the mood instantaneously.

Some people do not go home to a room, they are sent to their rooms.

Like the guy who is sent to the room to agonise after being dumped by his girlfriend.

Like the the poor soul who looks upon in dismay after her smartphone’s screen shatters into a billion pieces.

The narcissist who sends himself to the room and takes an hour to get dressed.

The gamer who sends food to his room rather than sending himself out of it.

The guy who self-invites himself to the lady’s room.

The couch in bed, who sends the wrong living things into the room.

Good o’ butlers, sending themselves in and coming out with a tip or two.

And good o’ me, sending myself into the room with the ever ready stash of double chocolate cookies waiting for me. Now, what the room really needs is a fridge… and throw in a Johnny Walker too for good measure ;)

Trains

I’ve realised that there hasn’t been any comprehensive posts by meself on trains. Well, I confess to be a train addict, maybe that’s partly the reason why I haven’t got a driver’s license. Not sure why is there a stereotype against train lovers in many parts of the world. It’s like, hey, I like Pokémon as well, fault me for that? Trains are exquisite. You can almost never get sick on them, they are awfully comfy to ride on and you can guarantee that your business in the toilets wouldn’t be a traumatising one (unlike coaches).

So recently, I chanced upon this website that consists of out of date data, stretching back to its publication nearly a year ago, it gives you a lowdown on the world’s busiest train stations and a reason to visit really crowded cities to experience what it feels like being squashed like baked beans in a can.

Click here to view the website!

45 of the busiest train stations in the world are located in Japan. Amazing isn’t it? What’s noticeably distinctive from the rest of the train stations around the world is the vibe and energy packed into Japanese train stations. Speciality bagel stores, Starbucks, umbrella vending machines… what more do you want?

Now, let me give you a lowdown on an all-encompassing train experience in Japan.

The moment you arrive at Narita International Airport (for those unfamiliar geographically, it is actually not located in Tokyo), you would likely board the Narita Express, where its regular priced seats would simply floor first-class seats anywhere else in the world! Functionality, comfort, WIFI, a bloody socket. Who needs a house anymore?

Any word that ends with an "X" is always a good word

Any word that ends with an “X” is always a good word

Most Japanese trains and their stations go beyond having just Japanese directions on the direction boards. In fact, most trains and its stations that have some connection to Tokyo, or are situated at the other major cities such as Osaka, Kyoto and Sapporo, have at least four different languages on the boards – Japanese, English, Mandarin and Korean! Europe should seriously consider something like that… opps!

Even the boards are eye-catching enough for a photo to be taken

Even the boards are eye-catching enough for a photo to be taken

NexChairs

The chairs are able to be turned backwards and forwards, they have a cup holder like the ones in cinemas, are able to be pushed back to a 25 degrees sleeping position to annoy the one at the back as well!

There isn’t a lack of entertainment on the trains as well. While many trains in the world are hardly decorated with any sorta images in the internal carriages, the trains in Japan are coloured with advertisements ranging from Disney to the latest bento set offerings. In fact, they pack in a tele as well for the unnecessary extra energy consumption! =X

JRTrains

If you ever listen to the announcements, they are the most pleasant, audible announcements on trains ever. Check out this video around the 1 minute mark for both the Japanese and English announcements > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_REjF7vtgg

The busiest line in the world

The busiest line in the world

And yes, I am a fan of signposts. In my hard disk of photos there are thousands of signposts shots, and this one is the perfect indication that I have sat on the line that runs around the busiest train stations in the world. But without a doubt, the best train service ever.

Never late, too friendly, food everywhere, too polite and throw in English-speaking station personnel, wicked!

All that train journeys makes for a tired but worthy day.

Your author

Your author

Sayonara!