On September 15, 2008, I arrived at London Heathrow with only my hand luggage and laptop bag in tow. My checked-in luggage had been misplaced and would only arrive the day after. Missing more than half my possessions and having spent the last 24 hours traveling, my first day in London was cold and miserable. From the airport transfer van, I looked out onto the dark and wet streets of the city that would become my second home.
For the past 4 years, for a total of 40 months, London became my second home. Every year, I would return to Singapore for a few months, usually in the summer, except for the summer of 2012.
Paying attention to the ‘ordinary, the mundane, the everyday’ was something I learnt from my UCL Geography teachers on a trip to Berlin and I’ve been fascinated by this concept since. It gave birth to this wordpress website. The initial intention was to post an entry a day, recording mainly everyday observations and descriptions, without any interpretations. How far I’ve strayed from those initial intentions! Even so, the title reminds me everytime that there is merit in just documenting facts and statements, without coming to any conclusions. So really, a large portion of this blog is dedicated to the mundanes of my life, my complaints and my musings. Read on if it interests you and leave if it doesn’t. I wish not to offend anyone and hope I won’t in my writing.
This blog began in January 2010. Till October 2012, it was largely about London. I consider London my second home. The streets of Bloomsbury were my neighbourhood. I was fed by Sainsburys and Tescos. I fell in love with Earl Grey and scones there. There are streets and roads in London that are engraved in my head. The chaotic Edgeware Road, the bustling Charlotte Street, the shopping areas of Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Wardour street–just a great street. I know London’s little quirks and habits. I know the city shuts down whenever it snows. I know the locations of Boris bikes. I know how to position myself in traffic on my little bike. I know bus 29 used to be rather unpleasant. I know that some tube drivers like to talk to their passengers. I know pubs where I can watch football and get a decent drink. I know what ‘snakebite’ contains. I know there’s a week or two in Spring where the flowers in Regent’s Park turn pink. I know all these and more. I love this dynamic city which has so much to offer me. I can go climbing, watch musicals, plays or comedies at the theatres. I can walk through the park and admire the seasons. I can go to the museums, galleries and exhibits that are constantly changing. I can go for talks by famous people. I can lose myself in the city, with no one to judge who I am or what I’m doing. I can do all that and more.
But even though London has become a part of me, the reason why we became acquainted is the reason why I have to return home to Singapore. Singapore is not a bad place. In fact, it is great because my family and friends are here. It just takes some time to get used to, and London will always have a place in my heart.
I’m a Singaporean Chinese, was a Londoner and a Geography, Economics and Transport student, but have now joined the ranks of working people. I love the outdoors/sports (climbing, swimming, cycling), and know that, as a privileged one, I have a duty to society.
Currently living in Singapore.
(updated 11 November 2012)