But it has been trying. I will not mince my words. It has been trying. These past few months have been trying. Perhaps even the past year, but that is perhaps leaving my words a little too unminced, a bit too hard to swallow, a tad bu shuang kou. You will consider returning your food, think of not returning to this place, vowing never to submit yourself to such an ordeal again, but you might return, sometime in the future, when you have sufficiently forgotten, when you are feeling charitable, then you will remember.
As I said, it has been trying.
There was a reunion at the beginning of December. Some of these guys I’ve been hanging out with regularly. Most of them I haven’t seen since secondary school. I didn’t help organise the reunion. It was just as well for I was busy anyway. It was a trying time. I am repeating myself.
I met old friends, many old friends, and acquaintances. We said hi. how’ve you been? What are you doing now? Wow, really? That’s interesting. No, of course. Yes. Sure, of course, yes. Ah, ah! Oh, noooo no noo. Haha! Yes, haha! It was a riot.
There were shoulder slaps, arm squeezes, belly laughs, conspirational whispers, incredulous looks, commiserating nods, comments about excess of weight and lack of hair, the whole shindig. It was a degustation of ten year’s worth of about a hundred guy’s lives. We ate it all up. Then we forgot the tastes, furrowed our brows at remnants of flavours. Was that sweet tang a specific fantastic success in some area? Was that sourness someone else griping about the success? Was that bitter aftertaste a weird vibe from that group of guys? It was a good meal. It wasn’t exceptional, but we could go for another serving, maybe sometime down the road, say, if we happen to be in the neighbourhood, sure. Maybe we will.
There were also weddings, oh, were there weddings. Pairs of people my age, around my age got married, got hitched, got chained to balls around their ankles, got a life, got together, professedly forever, all in the course of 5 weeks. There were preparations, practices, mullings, considerations, decisions, changed decisions, reverted decisions. Of course, there was also happiness, and love. Lots of love. I was involved in various ways, and to various degrees in the weddings, mostly to some substantial degree, more than I’ve ever been for any wedding in any case. Many were involved, troops were rallied, plans made, fretted over, executed. Results were savoured, enjoyed, appreciated. It was quite an adventure.
And the love, oh the love, there was an abundance of it. There also was relief, such is the toil of Chinese weddings. But, yes, there was love through it all. The weddings were extravagant, sweet, fun, sharing, happy, so happy, and over-filled with love, tears trailing as overflow. Oh there was love. And happiness. Much, much happiness.
But still, anyway, as I said, it has been trying. I have not even mentioned reservist. The First Ever Reservist that tainted the preceding weeks with so much dread and fear for the worst that turned out to be not so bad after all. I even enjoyed myself maybe almost half the time, the most enjoyable time turning out to be the not very long and not very arduous trek through the jungle. It was nice to be out in the not-so-wild, and interesting to have my First Ever Supernatural Army Experience while sitting awake alone in the claustrophobic darkness of the early morning (unless it so happened to be the case that an elderly Malay man was actually having a brisk early morning amble through the jungle and singing his wordless melody somewhere perhaps 20 metres away from where I was seated, picking his way so quickly and silently through the vegetation in almost absolute darkness that all I could hear was a sung melody fading in from somewhere behind me on my left and fading out somewhere behind me on my right within approximately 10 seconds. That could happen, even in the middle of the jungle away from habitation on an offshore island. Things happen). And the old friends, more meeting of old friends again but from another period in my life. It was good seeing them, knowing them again. It was not so trying after all. Too bad I failed my IPPT. I saw it coming, but too bad for me anyway. It does not bode well for my near future. It shall be trying, but I shall embrace it, love it, be one with it. The alternatives are imaginedly worse.
This is a picture of the new pan my mother bought today:
It is called a jumbo cooker and is made in korea. It is not really that jumbo and ‘cooker’ is too general a noun (adjective? noun? It feels like an adjective. But it should be a noun. I should know this. This should be easy for me. I should be reaping dividends from on-the-job training by now). It is a pan. It is two pans. One of the pans is a griddle pan. That excites me.
Onward to the rest of the year.