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Published: December 4th 2013
The sign we see every morning
- It is perhaps fitting to have an entry and some photos for Loughborough, UK, where I spent the first half of the year in, doing my student exchange. A disclaimer: this entry will have little if not nothing to do with Loughborough, but rather a 5 months late entry that includes some of my reflections and retrospective thoughts on events that occur close to half a year back. -
In the blink of an eye, close to half a year has passed since I returned back to Singapore! And yes, procrastination has had its way; till now, I have yet to post my adventures/stories on my Europe part II journey, a 1 and a half months trip taking me to the Scottish highlands, exotic Iceland, and the exciting lively cities of the Western European countries. But for now, my student exchange journey has ended (in fact, 5 months ago!) and I have a huge backlog of blog entries to write up on! But better late than never, especially when I still have these memories pretty fresh in my mind (having post travel withdrawal syndrome really helps here :p).
Since returning home, I have been kept busy
The school campus
Where we came out with our Loughborough Student Card
meeting and catching up with friends and family, attending my brother’s army officer commissioning parade, going for short trips in SE Asia amongst others. And of course, school resumed, and the semester had just ended with exams rounding off the hectic 13 weeks. So many things have happened in my life, in family and friends’ lives, and yet the student exchange experience and travelling in Europe all felt just like yesterday! Looking back at past photos definitely brought back numerous fond memories of good times, never failing to bring a smile to my face. And oh, how we just kept lamenting that we miss those days and kept screaming (not literally!) of wanting to return back to Europe!
I myself have been particularly fond of all the great times spent, especially the days spent in Loughborough, UK where we had our student exchange in. Having my heart aching a little while reminiscing on the memories is a testament to that. Which is why during this holidays, I’m making a point by reliving these memories! Will attempt to write up on some of the major events/places that we went during the June/July period. A heads up to some of these:
Our best friend in campus :)
Scotland Road Trip, Iceland Road Trip, Amsterdam+Brussels, Paris, Germany and S-LOVE-nia J
Below was a short reflection piece that I wrote while being stuck in transit on the way back to Singapore. The first part was written in Norway where I transited and the second in Bangkok where I transited for a 2nd
time due to a rescheduled flight. What a way to document the end of my exchange in the UK. Not as if a lost-and-found wallet, spoilt hand phone and camera, washed away spectacles, cracked lens were not enough. A delayed flight, missing my transit flight (one which I was supposed to fly in with my girlfriend) as a result, a day’s stay at the airport hotel, a flight to Bangkok before another transit flight taking me finally back home a day later than scheduled. Phew. I just wanna get home!! Perhaps its sign telling me it’s not time to leave Europe just yet! haha. Sounds like travel fatigue yeah. I just want some home cooked food and some authentic Singaporean dishes man. What a whale of a time the 6 months have been. And it flew passed just like that.
Where we ran and have lots of fun
As I am typing this at the hotel enjoying the really warm steamed eggs that resembled a little of those back home, its time to ponder on how the past 6 months have been. Fulfilling is an understatement I guess. Honestly it felt a little like a dream. All the experiences, the encounters with people, the dream places that I read off from books, the things done, crazy. Insane. Epic. It would have been difficult to summarize the whole episode into one. And doing it full justice with my description. And I guess I will be suffering hell lots of withdrawal syndrome from the comforts of my room, having the crazy group of brothers around me, playing soccer just every other day, and looking forward to new destinations every weekend. (This is so totally true from where I’m now!) The experience had really opened my eyes to the big, wider world out there. I’ve seen much, talked to and met so many different people from all walks of life, who speak in any kind of languages you can imagine. If anything, one thing I’ve learnt the most is to be appreciative of what I currently do have and to
always be thankful and contented. And to know that back at home in Singapore, we are indeed so much more fortunate than many in other countries, even in the more developed world. The grass may always appear to be greener on the other side, but more importantly, we need to get rid of that myopic outlook of life and learn to grow with what we currently have, and be happy with it J The period of exchange has also been a learning journey about myself really. About how I manage situations, about my temper, my more introverted self and learning with meeting new people, my ability to cope with certain issues beyond others, to live in an unknown environment, my tolerance for fear and how far I go in terms of doing and trying certain things… It’s really interesting to know so much more about myself and beyond. And of course, living with others re-examined my relationship with my friends and also with my dear one. I would say that our love relationship has indeed grown a lot. With travelling together, opportunities to know more about each other increase tremendously, and we have definitely learned and discovered many previously
unknown things about each other. Besides the human relationships, I also got to know much more about the cultures of the countries (not all but some) as well as the history and the traditions and sometimes, drawing comparisons with what we have back in Singapore. - 13th July
I somehow stopped abruptly (I guess I was too tired from flying!). Below is the short 2nd
piece where I typed in Bangkok. So basically I was supposed to fly my transit flight from Finland directly back to Singapore but my rescheduled flight flew from Finland to Bangkok, transiting for 4 hours before returning back to Singapore. Ironically, I missed my first flight, and now I m typing this in Bangkok. This was where I first started out doing backpacking close to 2 years ago. We’ve come 1 whole round ain’t it! Amazing things happen. And sometimes, they happen for a reason. Some call it fate. Several incidents that occurred during the past 6 months had firmly made me believe in it, besides attributing it to mere coincidences and the rare occurrences due to probability. Even though I may be a science person, I guess
Totally love and missing it
some things just can’t be explained by it! So yeah, it feels surreal to say the least about returning here by some weird arrangements by some higher being. Still, I am pretty tired out. Get me home! -14th July
And here I am! Typing this from the comfort of my home, albeit 5 months late. Haha. Hopefully this entry will revive my blog a little and spur me on to continue on this travelblog journey!
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