film is a REAL degree

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Moving On

i've been putting off my move to a new blog for obvious reasons.

i'll really miss this blog but somehow the URL is no longer a reflection of where i am in life.

it was fun while it lasted. this blog really helped me through the past 3 years and will remain a reminder of those incredible memories.

when i ever get round to finishing the last 2 'draft' posts (my trips to China and Poland/France), you'll be informed.

but until then, you can visit my new blog HERE.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Graduation seems like such a distant memory

since getting back to Singapore, i've been busy trying to get as much done as i can. it feels like i can finally slow down this week and as i sit in front of the computer looking through photos from graduation, it feels like it was such a long time ago! i can't believe i've graduated, or even that i won't be flying back to the UK anytime in the next few months. i guess surreal is the word...

my graduation was pretty eventful - i'm really happy that my family flew in all the way for what were literally lightning visits so that they could watch me walk on stage in my gown and everything. and Josh took half the week off work to spend with me and my family :)

my ceremony was the last of the entire cohort's (the afternoon of the friday) so in a way it already felt special. however, it was made memorable by other "special" happenings... as you know, there was severe flooding in the UK in July, which was quite a crisis for the country. Warwickshire was affected by the rains (and subsequent flooding) which started the morning of my graduation. in fact, there was a bit of drama early that morning because my brother had just arrived at Heathrow and was due to get into Leamington around 10am. i received a call from him just before 8am that morning saying that he had just got onto an earlier train and was due to arrive around 9.20am. unprepared for such an early arrival, Josh and i hurried to get my stuff into bags and left Birmingham, driving towards Kenilworth (where we had to pick up my parents and move them to the other guesthouse that they were booked to stay in). while on the road, i received a call from my brother saying that lightning had hit one of the signals between Bicester North and Banbury and as a result, no trains were running between Bicester North and Birmingham (the line passes through Leamington Spa). no word on replacement bus services and i was worried that by the time they did get one up and running, my brother might not make it in time to get a shower at the guesthouse and get ready for the ceremony (we had planned to get to University around 11.30am so that i would be guaranteed extra tickets for the ceremony and wouldnt have that long a queue for photos - or have problems finding convenient parking). we started driving towards Bicester North, just in case, and if there was a replacement bus service up before we got there, we would easily be able to turn around and make our way back to Kenilworth. thankfully they managed to fix the signal and my brother got onto the next train (which got him in at 10-ish, the original time he was due to arrive) so that was a big relief. when everyone was settled into the guesthouse (my parents had to change because the one that they were staying in the 2 nights before my graduation was fully booked the night of), we made our way to the Warwick Arts Centre AND even found incredibly strategic parking i.e. a lot that was near the building so that we didnt have to walk far in the rain.

we arrived just before 11.30am. i managed to get into the early-bird queue for spare tickets (everyone only gets 2, the rest are on first-come-first-serve), got into my gown (they even fitted me and pinned everything on!) and didnt have to wait long for my studio photos (hardly a queue), which was a relief. being early meant i didnt have to rush around and feel all flustered, and i got to take lots of photos with my coursemates and other friends that were graduating that same day.

the Coventry Telegraph and Birmingham Post published the list of graduates for the day
PINK! (actually, it's cerise)me with my "sponsors" :)

and my brother (yes, thank you for spending all that money on the plane ticket!)and my special someone, who's stood by all the whining and panicking near deadlines, suffered when i spent hours dissecting films or reading insanely thick books for research (we've never watched a film together as a couple in a cinema) and who was always ready to give me printer credits (or print multiple copies of long essays and readings on his printer).as we were the last group to graduate (and being merely Arts students), our degrees were conferred by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.the amazing thing was that during my degree congregation, the University was conferring an honorary Doctor of Letters to Geoffrey Hill. HOW COOL IS THAT? after reading his poetry in class, i got to SEE him in person!

graduating also meant saying goodbye to some amazing friends i've made - especially my coursemates, who've made Warwick such an amazing experience. from attending class together to all the moments in between, especially in the Common Room where discussions ranged from the latest film we had to watch on the course to debates about Star Wars (the logic behind binoculars for robots when you can just put varying lenses into their "eyes") or David Attenborough, even the regular trips for coffee and bacon batches at Raffles Cafe.

to these people, whom i could start a random conversation to about anything:

me with Esther and Shezre - we'd talk about everything!
Rich, the tallest guy, who was so much fun to be withRosa, who is so intelligent she frightens me - she's going to be a famous diretor someday, i know it! (making very intellectual films, of course)Chaz (drummer), Alex (headmaster?), Jake (Superstar - his words), me and Rachel (teacher)Francine (UN policy maker) and Zoe (globetrotter)me with Emily (Film PR), Rachel, Emma (film-maker), Zoe, Hannah (Professor - she's freaking smart!) and FrancineBen (filmmaker/fashion icon) and Fred (i look forward to seeing him writing a regular column for a newspaper!)me with Pearce - i'll miss the intellectual conversations we'd have in the Common Room before his Cultre, Text and Identity seminar where i tell him what we discussed in mine (because he hasnt done the work) and we ramble off on an extended discussion of our own! me and Annie, 2 of the most faithful Naturalism students (once we were the only 2 at the seminar and he made us come back an hour later for the next one)
me and Lou - she never fails to make you smile/laugh!
me and Tanya - we used to update each other on our job application progress (we were applying for similar jobs)
as we were rained out, the Film & TV Class of 2007 was the first to have department photos taken indoors rather than out on the Piazza
and of course, who can forget Greg, student extraordinaire (who will one day be another Dickie Dyer, though not gay) - the rain that led to flooding made him late for not only the ceremony but also the department photo! 5 hours stuck on the motorway...and to the many others who didnt attend or whom i didnt get to take photos with...

at the end of the day, i was exhausted but also exhilerated. while i was sad to leave, i finally felt like i've achieved something and i will looking back with very fond memories of my days at Warwick. (the above proves i may not have that much brain but i'm still a graduate!) and a ceremonial toss, filled with a sense of relief and elation!
to the amazing 3 years - how i will always treasure the memories and the friends i made...

Friday, August 03, 2007

drama at the airport

on my way to the airport in the coach yesterday/Thursday, i was a bit worried that at check-in i would be told that they would not accept the extra 2.5kg that i had (my weight allowance for check-in was 23kg but i had 25.5kg) and that i would have to throw out some stuff to get it down. so i had Johann on standby (because he lives nearest to the airport, has a car, and was very obliging to drive down and help if needed!) to come and get some stuff from me if it got down to that in the end.

upon arriving at the airport, i went to the sales desk to get my ticket re-issued. i was bumped up the the earlier flight (10mins earlier) as the flight that i had been confirmed on was full (panicked for a bit there!). once sorted i went to check-in. all was going well until i got to the desk and told the guy i had 2 bags. it was there that i was informed i could only check in one bag (a new BA policy since February 2007) because i was travelling in economy class. if i wanted to check in 2 bags, i would have to pay a flat fee of 120 pounds per extra bag, even if all the bags collectively came under the weight allowance. so i told the guy that i would try and repack my bags at the side and come back again. he said, yeah you should try that because it will be cheaper.

so i spent the next 5mins panicking (and calling Josh who stayed back in the office rather than driving home so that he could answer my calls) and trying to stuff everything from my backpack (all clothes) into my suitcase. once i expanded the suitcase there was a teensy bit more space so i was frantically trying to squeeze everything in (a mammoth task that took 20mins and a lot of sweat). in the end, success! though i couldnt fit the backpack itself into the suitcase. when i went back to the counter, i carried my bag onto the conveyor belt and the guy asked, how many bags? i said, just the one. he looked surprised and asked, what happened to the other bag? i said, i repacked it all into one bag. silence and a look of double surprise from him. and i think because i did it, he looked the other way with regard to the excess weight. phew! he even thanked me for cooperating and repacking it all into one!

next i had to find a bin to throw away my backpack (it's old and battered so i didnt mind chucking it out). bins are a scarcity in airports these days and i decided to try the covered bit box thingy near where i repacked my stuff (where you throw things into separate bins for different types of material). since my bag didnt fit into any category, i approached a cleaner who was checking the bins and asked if i could throw my bag into one of the bins. he replied, is it empty (with a look of surprise that someone wants to throw a backpack away)? i said, yeah it is. he paused for a while and said, oh ok sure. (what's with me atracting weird looks from airport staff?)

everything from there went relatively smoothly. other than the fact that it took me a good 5mins to repack my laptop bag because they make you remove your laptop to be scanned separately. every item in the bag had a specific position to accomodate everything and once the laptop was removed, it had to be systematically repacked. oh and my flight was delayed anyway since the plane came in late and we had to wait ages to get onto the runway.

on a lighter note, have you ever seen a white, middle-aged father of two practise yoga at the departure lounge while waiting for boarding? WEIRD.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Goodbye for now

so i'm all packed and my flight's been confirmed. i feel really sad but the thought of a new phase of my life awaiting me back home is keeping me from bawling my eyes out.

i love you and i'll miss you (well, you already know that) and i have a feeling it will work out in the end.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

playing with my feelings

i was supposed to fly home today from Birmingham International via Frankfurt. i tried to check-in online last night and again this morning but there were technical problems with the page so it told me to try again later or proceed to the airport. otherwise i could get redirected to the 'Manage My Booking' page on the BA website. i decided to check that out and review my itinerary. strangely enough only my Singapore-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Birmingham (both completed in January 2007) and my Frankfurt-Singapore journeys were displayed. so i started to panic and tried using the Qantas website to confirm my flight (since the flight number was originally a QF one) but it refused to let me because there was no option to select the departure city as 'Birmingham'. then i tried calling them and the voice-answering service said i did not need to re-confirm any Qantas flights. so i was pretty relieved but decided to double check that flight was running that day. when i keyed in the flight number it said there was no such flight leaving today. my next option was to call BA and again i encountered problems reconfirming the flight. it was when i finally got put through to an operator that i discovered why.

BA/Qantas had cancelled the Birmingham-Frankfurt flight since February.

so essentially i had a seat on the Frankfurt-Singapore leg but none to get to Frankfurt because BA/Qantas had stopped flying to Birmingham altogether.

the woman on the phone tried to get me a flight today that would allow me to connect to my Frankfurt flight and the only one that i had a reasonable chance of making was from London Heathrow at 8.30pm but meant i had only 45mins transit time. so instead she tried to get me on a direct flight from London.

i now have a confirmed seat on but means that i leave the night of 2 Aug instead and arrive in Singapore 3 Aug (in the evening). and thankfully i dont have to pay any extra charges because my flight was cancelled.

it also means i have 2 extra days in the UK. but i had psyched myself up so much for saying goodbye today it feels weird. and i think it's going to make saying goodbye worse on thursday...

but i am going to make the best of the extra time!

Monday, July 30, 2007

an end to an era

one last night in the UK (for now).

seems so surreal. and rather depressing.

it's hard to say goodbye, even if the parting is only temporary.

and it's difficult to leave when the one you love is left behind. things might be a lot easier if i felt any differently about us.

Friday, July 27, 2007

a BBQ during the short interval between showers and downpours

it (Wednesday) looked like it wasnt going to be a good day for a BBQ. but with some optimism (and using the BBC Weather forecast rather than the one) we decided to go ahead and buy the food and prepare it since it was the last night Paul would be around before going back to Warsaw and the 3 of us to sit down for a good meal. the skies were gracious to hold out till we had eaten our fill before it started to pour again (the pit is still out in the backyard, uncleaned and a mess of ash and rainwater - urgh!)