Graduation in Albion

And so, the sister graduated today. Amidst a week of lousy weather in Britain, the sun decided to shine today. My mum said she prayed for good weather and although it felt wrong to feel smug about it, or take credit for it- “Ah! The power of a mother’s prayers!” said the mum – I can’t help that Hani was exceptionally fortunate after yesterday’s torrential weather.

I love graduations. I loved my own graduation from Warwick, and even though my brother’s graduation was overall a tacky affair (hmph, Americans!), I loved it for the very inspiring speaker they had. And my brother graduated in Savannah, Georgia, a very old but very beautiful American town complete with its famed Southern charm, so though the ceremony was tacky, the setting was charming and beautiful.

I’m a rather old-fashioned sort of girl. I love pomp and circumstance, and all the tradition and razzle dazzle. At the risk of sounding like some sort of graduation review, certainly Hani’s graduation was probably the best of all.

St. Andrews had all the pomp and tradition I imagined an ancient university should have but none of the arrogance or condescension of Oxbridge. The church bells rang to celebrate the graduates and every aspect of the ceremony was rich with tradition. Hell, Hani was bonked on the head with a cap that was 300 years old, and they carried maces well over 500 years old.

The whole experience of coming back to the UK, walking about in town and then entering university halls made me miss this place terribly. I’ve mad ideas now, of coming back and doing a masters, living here and taking long walks along the countryside for inspiration.

Even if it means superbly freezing weather by this poor Malaysian’s standards.

Hani was proud. We’ve turned properly Scottish now – the moment there’s a hint of the sun, we run out to enjoy it despite it being freezing. And there are so many things I do want to enjoy here. From incredibly fresh food and vegetables, beautiful old buildings and heck, cars that don’t run me over at zebra crossings. I love walking instead of taking the car, people talking to you and telling their entire life stories over the counter.

Here’s to another nth number of days here. I dread to go home.


Partner In Crime: A Study of Rational vs Irrational Behaviours

Dear partner in crime,

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was for this day. Despite having not much planned since we will be going to the motherland soon, there is just something about this day that I know would be more special than others.

Today is the day, that you had opted, on that fateful 4th of June 2010, to become my partner-in-crime, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health till death do us part.

It was fitting I suppose, after one year of ‘adventures’ (and I don’t say this lightly) that we spend the first night of our anniversary (12am, 4th of June 2011) sleeping so much and having much trouble waking up. It was as though we were holding our breaths for a year, hoping that we did nothing wrong and now that it’s all worked out, we can breathe out easy. It’s exhausting trying to survive, yo!

I don’t know where to begin. All I do know is that as this day approaches, I have never been happier and that is because of you. You have made me rethink my philosophies in life, that perhaps that despite my education emphasizing the importance of rational behavior to gain happiness, my happiness this year has been founded on some of the most irrational of behaviours

Take for instance, moving out the day after we married each other. The blushing glow of the bride on your reception on your side was mostly due to the exercise we had. That is, chasing after cockroaches and the massive cleaning we had to do when we moved into our rental. (Think not of the gutters my fellow perverted readers)

Rational behaviour would suggest that it would have been more logical to move out after our honeymoon and all our receptions (yes, we had 4). Instead, we irrationally decided we had enough energy between weddings to clean up a house, move furniture and paid for it with panda eyes in the photos of your family’s side of the reception and nearly missing the flight to Bali for our honeymoon.

But had we not done all those mad things, I would have missed that feeling of fierce independence and happiness when I switched on the aircon in our bedroom. This was our bedroom. Our aircond. Heck, even the cockroaches that we murdered, our cockroaches.

What about the time where I was convinced that I could be a charcuterie? Oh, how I dragged you from market to market, searching for the fattiest piece of meat that would make the oxymoronic halal pancetta. I knew I married the right man, when you were willing to try a piece of cured meat – despite knowing full well, you might die from a terrible disease called botulism.

Now that, ladies and gentleman, is love. Even my own dear family refused to try my experiments at making cheese, instead making a loving phone call the next day asking, ‘Eh, you still alive ah?’

And then our efforts at gardening? Of course, we told everyone that we were doing it to understand more about life and nature. To reap what we sow, to grow our own foods and to be humbled from how a single seed, it can grow to nourish and feed us.

When you knew the exact reason why I wanted to garden. You knew the reason why I wanted to garden was to have a series of plants that can stop whatever zombies that might try and come to attack us.

Plants Vs Zombies. The zombie apocalypse may be coming. But not before the robots attack us. *Shudders*

Most of all, thank you for being as irrational as I am. Rationally speaking, based on statistics, the probability of anyone being a successful creative writer is very low, with the returns on investment for all the time put in being so low that it amounts to a few cents an hour. JK Rowling is the outlier, not the bell on the normal curve.

But for you to come home every day, to ask me, ‘How’s your writing?’ and to be disappointed in me when I don’t write, for you to push me to succeed in my creative endeavours makes me wonder that perhaps, you are just as irrational as I am. Your belief in me reminds me of faith, and it certainly is not rational based on my checkered track records.

And I ask you, if you are happy doing what you do, pushing me to succeed in this endeavour instead of taking on a normal job that would have a more stable income, carrying a more prestigious title like “Vice President”

And you reply, “It’s just titles. And it’s just money.”

Thank you for being here with me on this journey. Thank you for tolerating the way I make you a cup of tea obsessively, by heating up the pot, heating up the mug and then the strainer and boiling water to boiling point before pouring the hot water onto the leaves. Takes you a good 5 minutes to get a cup of tea, instead of just dropping a teabag in a mug and pouring hot water in. And then, thank you for emulating the way I make tea, by heating up the pot, the mug and then heating the water to boiling point before pouring the water in, when I asked you for a cup of tea when I wasn’t feeling well.

Thank you, most of all, for changing my perspective in life, that perhaps being rational is not the best way in pursuit of happiness. It’s in being irrational.

Yours forever,

Your wife, Lin.