A las dos

Whoo! 2 AM in the morning, and I’m still up and about.

(I am certain that upon looking over the archives to the time I was doing that research essay on Hamlet last semester, one will find a similarly inane post made post-midnight. If not two.)

One more week till it’s finally all over, baby. Then a few weeks hanging around Sydney, dealing with some unfinished business, before this chapter closes and people disappear yet again and I find myself elsewhere, wondering if all of this had ever happened.

Anyway, PLENTY of time to angst about that afterwards, I’m sure. In the meantime, I’m just trying to have fun with the little time I have, trying not to think so much what’s coming after (or the lack of plan for one thereof), and shall I say that time slowed down for me and gave me a break? Wish I could. Time gleefully went its quick, merry way as usual, and I suspect that it went past me ever quicker this time, just out of spite. But you can’t reason with human abstractions, just like you really can’t wrestle down that tough old vulture called Life long enough whisper to its ear what you want. Beside, that bird never listens to anyone anyway, so there’s a non-issue.

I’ll just tell you what it’s like in College at 2 AM in the morning.

It’s chilly. It’s cold to be out in your pajamas in the hallway, voices coming from the room across yours, the white letters spelling EXIT turned off. It’s dark, because everyone’s door is shut and there’s not even a slant of light coming out below the doors that would otherwise give you the impression that there’s a person with a beating heart behind these walls that cover so little and cover so much, but then that’s how we like our privacy, don’t we – we like being given an illusion of it, but not so much, lest we feel alone in the world. And yet there still are people with beating hearts behind these doors, every single one of them a story that would span volumes, affecting every person they meet, and those people spanning volumes of their own, that meeting always a potential plot twist in their life. But when the doors are shut and locked, it is as if they are not there, these people with blood rushing to their brains, where dreams are spuming out in clouds of detail, and there’s so much life and none at the same time, and there’s the power of walls, as artificial and arbitrary as they may be like Time, like everything we make ourselves.

(I’ve always been rather partial to walls, though; I practically grew up with so much of them around me.)

It’s odd, because after midnight, there is that something that tells you that only you have the right to be still awake.

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Monsoon

I woke up to rain coming down so hard it reminded me of primary school in the Philippines right smack in the middle of monsoon season when all the dim yellow lights in the hallway were turned on at eight o’clock in the morning because it was as dark as dusk and the rain was powerful not like the wimpy drizzles that try to pass as rain but rain so strong it would hit you on the face and tell you how little you are but we were so little then running around the hallways in glee and in the fun eerieness of the shadows and the dim yellow lights and it didn’t feel like school and we were somewhere else in the warmth of friends while the world outside drowned and we were waiting for that moment when school would be cancelled because the wind was howling and we were waiting for that moment because all we needed was a word.

The Sounds of Tuesday Morning

First dibs for waking me up this morning goes to the cleaner lady. Banging of cutlery and lots of scrubbing in the girls’ toilet. 7:22 AM; I checked. Not entirely unwelcome – last night I had dozed off in the middle of my preparing my presentation, around 12 midnight, and woke up half past, decided I’ll do a fresh start in the morning, hopped under the sheets and went out like a light.

Didn’t make any difference though. Turned and went back to the woolly scent of sheets and to the embracing arms of sleep. Alarm rang at 8:00 AM; shut it promptly. Eventually woke up at 8:30 AM.

She’s still scrubbing.

Stomach quite unhappy. Last night downed a tall glass of carbonated lemonade on an empty stomach, came back home to find that someone stole my dinner and very unprofessionally switched the cling-wrap that had my name on it on someone else’s leftover lunch. If you’re gonna try to fool me, at least have the decency to do it properly.

Sounds from Anzac Parade. Sounds like a river running. Maroon 5 playing.
Skies overcast. Sun still comparatively strong. Breeze picks up regularly.

What I doodled on the whiteboard outside my room. Last sentence a cheeky addition by a cheeky friend.

(Oi Roman, that’s my productivity after not having drawn for more than a year, haha. Need a sketchbook. And my inking pens.)

Tuesday morning for a university student who’s been studying for too long.

Days fly faster in the southern hemisphere.

Excerpt in the life of…

The agonistic mode of the drama, as descended from classical Athens and to the Renaissance, essentially runs contrary to the dramatization of a disembodied divine vengeance that would develop beyond the spatio-temporal bounds of classical tragedy (Kerrigan). In secular drama, then, “if divine justice were to be made visible, it had to be wreaked by the hand of man” (Matthews 87). Hence, instead of being confined to a rule, Shakespeare is given ample technical space to make use of the dramatic situation of the play to question the effort to reconcile ethical differences regarding revenge and society’s consequent demand for irreconcilable modes of action.

Just the sort of thing I’m pounding on the laptop for my research essay right now on the lovely Mr. Hamlet. That was page 10, halfway through the whole thing. One day I shall look back and laugh at how self-important I sound.

But not right now, though.

I’m so addicted to black tea. I can’t study without it.

Truant sun

Been a while, aye? I always do find this hour, when tomorrow becomes today, the most convenient to post something in the midst of fatigue and hunger and the general want to crawl under the bed covers. I don’t know why. I’m weird that way. I’m a hundred million things that are not sensible. I’m cheesecake, I’m pistachio, and only people inside the jokes can understand why. I think it’s because I find these last few minutes before giving up on the research essay for the morning the most appropriate time to do something mundane. “Since I’m here already, might as well.”

Does time move faster in Australia? Is there something in the southern hemisphere that suspends a person in a wormhole while time passes by unnoticed?

“nefandos dividat vastum mare
dirimatque tellus abdita et quisquis sub hoc
in alia versus sidera ac solem avium
dendet orbis alterum ex nobis ferat.”

“Let the vast ocean divide the guilty, let the spaces of the earth yawn between us, bearing away one of us to whatever world hangs beneath this one, looking only at other stars and at a truant sun.”

-Seneca, Oedipus

Mid-session Break

On week-long holiday now. It’s mid-semester break, which I’ve never had in the Philippines.

Tomorrow’s going to be busy. Am going to St. Andrew’s Cathedral in the city for church service, then lunch with a classmate and her housemates in a Chinese restaurant, then going with a College friend to a ferry trip to Paramatta. Going to be back in time for dinner.

Monday, a friend and I should be accompanying another friend to Central where she’ll get a train to her med rural placement. Then we’re going to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Tuesday, I might be going out with a few friends to catch a train to the Blue Mountains for a hike.

Wednesday, going out with some College people for yum cha. Possibly some shopping afterwards, because I really need spring clothes now.

Thursday, I might be going with a friend for a walk over Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’ll have to give her a ring.

And somewhere among all of this, I’ll have to do work on research and birthday presents.

Let me paint you a picture of words

It’s been raining horribly here in Sydney the last few weeks and the temperature had dropped. At one point you’ll have the blue skies, bright sun combination then the rain comes, just like that. Two days ago, though, I happened to look out my window after a particularly bad soak, and I saw this sight:

rainbow over unsw

I felt incredibly gratified. There’s actually two rainbows there: the very visible one and a bigger arc above it, if you can see. It’s rather faint.

I was reminded of something that happened to me during my first days in Sydney. I was still in the dumps about leaving Beijing then, and I was walking down the road next to the VG back to the College. You can see the road in the picture. It was at night and I was walking alone, pretty lost in a depression that kept throwing me back to memories in Beijing. I was wondering if I could ever get the same sense of belonging in Sydney and if I could live without it after all.

Then for some reason I just looked up, and I saw the Southern Cross for the first time in Australia. I had seen the constellation for the first time in my life when I went to South Africa, and it had been an amazing experience because I had never seen so many stars so visible in one single place before. And seeing the Southern Cross here just evoked that same awe of beauty from me, and I was suddenly reassured that everything would be fine. Now I see the Southern Cross every night I walk back from my classes.

Cheesy, perhaps? Well, we all carry our own cheese.

In any case, I’m posting a few night photos I took of Sydney Harbour during my second week. That had been more than a month ago.
Sydney Opera House

This is the famous Sydney Opera House. Sometimes it still takes time for me to get around the idea that it’s just a bus ride away from me.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

This is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I plan to walk across it on the last week of September to the other side. There’s actually a tour where you walk on top of the bridge, on the railings, but it’s heaps expensive. My parents stayed in a hotel next to it and you could see the little people on top of the bridge in their gray-blue suits.

Museum of Contemporary Art

That’s the Museum of Contemporary Art on the left. Read my lips when I say: free entrance.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House again, from a point of view not usually seen in postcards.

Why am I taking all this effort to put this in my blog? Because I just discovered how useful it can be. I’m working on a new story to be workshopped next Wednesday, and I’ve based it upon my life in Beijing last year. And I’ve been referring a lot to my Beijing blog. I have discovered that I’ve actually forgotten things I never knew I would be able to forget. The palest ink is still stronger than the strongest memory, that’s for sure.

I’ve been listening to the Chinese pop songs I heard on the streets when I was still in Beijing while I write my story, to make me remember even fiercely all the detail. Makes me miss it so much. And I was practically salivating in remembering what’s it like to eat malatang in the dead of winter.