Lisbon Adventure Day 2+3

So as you may have noticed, I missed a day of blogging.

I HAVE A VALID EXCUSE.

The after party ended around 2am. And you don’t want me to blog while I’m borderline drunk.

So where should I start, lets start with the bad, because I like to end things on a high note.

I’m experiencing the post-conference withdrawal now.

It’s a combination of being alone and having no one to share all this *gestures at the air*, this being the whole lisbon conference experience, with, suddenly being denied (good) human contact after like an intensive socializing session and having spent all HP.

I want to leave but I don’t want to leave. Well I want to go home but I don’t want to return to a country that’s full of people whom I can”t really talk to. But to be honest staying won’t change anything either because it’s not LISBON people I miss, it’s the people at the conference, and they are from all over the world.

This leads to my mild bout of self-kicking because, yes I’m a venus Libra, but I can only manage Ms. Social-butterfly in flashes. Once my HP draws blank…well it’s back to being the socially awkward introvert. It honestly doesn’t help that my INFJ ‘I think I’ve shared too much’ anxiety is flaring up. Rationally I know that I probably did not embarrass myself in any way and left a pretty good impression, I’m just not a social person, I suck at keeping in contact with people and networking and all that. I’m a great conversationalist, I can talk to anyone and have a good time doing so, but actually establishing a relationship? That part is awkward as hell to me. So here I am, being upset at myself for this dimension of social awkwardness, though to be fair, I think I did very well already. And now the wise cactus in me is coming out to counsel the silly emo me.

If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be, granted maybe if I tried harder or did something else I might have established more networks and friendships, but LETS FACE IT, I am a moon bottle, these bonds are always loose on us. And the likelihood of finding some kind of actual friendship at an international conference that lasted a grand total of 1 day is slim to none. So really, all this lingering sadness is more of a sad resignation towards the fact that potential friendships have slipped away. (And the cynical chocomon would like to point out that chances are if you spent more time with all these people you’d start not liking them so much, cause, introvert corn.) So, focus on the good, you’ve had great conversations, met lots of people, had your eyes opened to more of the world, collected more stories…all that is above and beyond the objectives you set you achieve! (Not to mention priceless) If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, you’ll meet all the right people again some day, some time. You’ve tried. Now it’s time to go back to your hermit cave and use all those inspiration you just got!

…That and, you already know you’re a weird person (case in point you’re talking to yourself in third person right now), anyone who doesn’t find that weirdness endearing are not meant to be friends, end of story.

Phew, I feel so much better after playing my own shrink.

So moving on, THE CONFERENCE.

It is money well-spent. Like, more than well-spent.

Where do I start? I don’t really want go into details of the content because I have separate notes and reflections for that. So I guess I’ll start with why the whole thing was so worth it.

First is definitely the people. I kind of feel like I got put into my place, but at the same time it’s so eye-opening. The world is so big. There are all sorts of people. Makes you want to aim higher, also makes you feel like the world is full of amazing stories and people. Coming from Asia, I’ve opened my eyes to so much more of European way of life now, whether or not it’s my cup of tea is another story. But that’s the point, step out of your comfort zone and see what’s out there. All these people, I would never have the chance to meet them normally, not putting myself down, I’m just not at a station where I would normally encounter these people, and a lot of them are better than me in many ways (not saying that I don’t have my own awesomeness), and decidedly more successful. So being given a chance to meet all these people, talk to them and be treated like an equal is amazing. A little intimidating, but amazing.

Second is the indirect things I’ve learnt. I have so many ideas for the TEDxSentosa Conference now and even more ideas for the company. More than that, I’m more certain about what I want to do now. At first I thought I would like to work for Monocle, but seeing them in person, I realize I don’t. They want to inspire doers, they won’t actually do anything despite all their bright ideas, they want someone to take those ideas and do it. And guess what, I’m a doer. I want to do things. Of course, they’re looking at more influential people, bigger figures than me. But hey, inspiration is free domain, even if what I can do is TINY, there are no rules saying I can’t do it. In my book, small change is better than no change. So yea, I’m going to take all the ideas I’ve learnt and come up with and slowly realize them!

The third thing isn’t really related to the conference, not directly. But this trip has allowed me to do so much soul searching. I’ve come to realize how insanely multi-dimensional I am. Like seriously, I am like a positive advocate/activist, gamer, foodie, otaku who speaks 5 languages, likes music, dance and singing, does photogrpahy and videography and is interested in health, urban planning and themed entertainment. Oh and is also a writer. Yea…talk about jack of all trades master of none. But yea, that’s not the main soul-searching. The main soul-searching is really just bonding with myself. Experiencing my human condition, of loneliness, fear, excitement etc. Finding out where the edges of me end and the rest of the world starts. I’ve come to accept more of my flaws, improved some of them and appreciate myself that much more. And that is priceless. I’d like to think that I have a very good relationship with myself, which is very important for hyper self-aware people such as myself.

I have also come to realize I don’t know what to do when faced with interest from the opposite sex. On one hand flirting is fun, on the other hand I don’t want to lead people on…I don”t quite know what to do when it’s not clear-cut. I get on fine if I know the exact intentions, but when the intentions are vague…I either over-read or under-read it and…either way it ends up awkward. I guess I’m confined to gender neutral interactions forever.

Moving on! SIGHTS AND SOUNDS!

I walked 10km today. Walked from Cafe Lisboa to the beach and walked all along the beach until the art museum and all the way up back to the hotel. I know it’s short, really short, just 3 hours, but I feel like I’ve seen more of Lisbon and felt more of it than people sightseeing, visiting attractions and eating the foods. Honestly, I don’t want to do those things because I want to share those experiences with someone and there is no one at the moment. So instead I chose to ‘sight-see’ in a way that only I can do when I’m alone. Walk. Getting lost in a foreign city, watching its stones disappear under your feet really helps you get a feel for the place. I see where all the neighbourhoods connect and transit into each other. From the tourist areas to the everyday residential district, to the more up-class residential areas and back to the tourist area. I see how their people live, the types of people that lives in the folds of this city, I’ve seen the city beyond its gloss, and it’s inspiring. So much of Lisbon isn’t perfect but it’s still so charming, so real. And so different. It’s refreshing. I won’t live here, but I wouldn’t mind visiting for a few days and experiencing the city and its people again. I feel like I understand Europe more now, after that 3 hours. I think this level of understanding and experiencing beats visiting ancient castles and eating tarts. I mean the attractions and food will always be there, the Lisbon that I saw today will not. The people will change, the city will change. It’s also a very fruitful day given how many photos I have taken. =D sadly Tweddy didn’t get to have a photoshoot because Lisbon isn’t very clean and I have my concerns putting Tweddy down at places where he’ll get dirty. But Tweddy experienced Lisbon with me, felt it with me, I’d like to think he grew with me as a seasoned traveler.

So what am I going to do when I go back? I don’t know. I feel like making film, taking photos, writing, singing, dancing, organizing event and starting projects all at the same time. Obviously I can’t do that. So i’ll need to sit on it.

So yea!

The final note?

I had fun.

I genuinely had fun.

I can’t remember when’s the last time I actually truly enjoyed myself. I think that’s really why I’m a little sad. Because I had fun, I enjoyed and now that moment has ended, so of course it’ll be a bit sad. It’s kind of like leaving Disneyland. Except with Japan, I know I will miss it, so I manage my expectations in advance. I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy this experience so much, the unexpected joy and fun resulted in unmanaged expectations when the whole experience came to an end. Well hence I am hammering away on this keyboard to manage my newfound sadness.

But yea, it’s just been amazing.

My life from here on out will have been shaped considerably by this experience.

VERDICT ON MY UBER SHORT LISBON ADVENTURE: PRICELESS

Lisbon adventure day 1

Hello my dear blog, it’s been a while.

You’ll be glad to know that I’m not writing to bitch today.

I’M IN LISBON!

Yes, it’s yet another one of those crazy chocomon escapades whereby this chocomon sees something she wants to do and then goes out of her way to achieve it.

Basically, I flew all the way to Lisbon for the Monocle Better Living Conference.

Anyways, this is going to be a long post, I will try my best  to structure it but it’ll probably just come out as one undigested rant.

It’s 8+pm here, I’ve been on the plane for most of the day, and I’ve been awake for almost 20 hours now, thankfully I’m not jetlagged cause:
-I’m basically nocturnal
-My bioclock is capable of suspending itself in limbo while I’m in transit

Back to the topic,,,where should I start?

I guess I’ll start small, with myself.

After walking around Lisbon all by myself today (mind you, by chocomon standards, I hardly did any research on the place), I’ve come to feel quite proud of myself. Here I am, this small asian girl in this European country that she knows nothing about and doesn’t speak the language of and getting around, seeing things, meeting people and experiencing life! And also getting lost in a sea of connecting flights in Swizterland, all by my lonesome.

It reminds me that I am an independent person who is perfectly capable of doing well outside her comfort zone. And I think I deserve to be proud of myself for that, how many other people can say, truly say that they’ve gone travelling solo to all these places?

Of course, the downside of being a lonewolf is that you don’t have someone to share the magic with, Taking photos, texting friends, it helps. But the INFJ in me just really wants someone with a deep connection to share all these wonderful experiences with.

Which leads me into, WHAT WONDERFUL EXPERIENCES DID I COME ACROSS TODAY!

Looking at the people of Lisbon makes me wonder, what are we doing wrong.

In my short few hours here (most of which were spent at the park), I’ve seen same sex parents who are happily with their child, more fathers than mothers taking their kids out, playing with their children and making playdates with other dads and kids (albeit, wine in hand), children who play ball and hold serious discussions simultaneously regardless of gender, random college students practicing tight-rope walking in the park and a arts and craft fair/bazaar thing.

These aren’t things I looked up to hunt down and see, these things are just part of Lisbon’s everyday life.

So I ask again, what are we doing wrong?

Weather and architecture aside, I believe we are capable of cultivating a fulfilling culture much like theirs where there is more to life than objects and grades.

The only silver lining I can think of in this situation is that because Singapore lacks all these little things, you appreciate all these moments that much more when you do encounter them in Singapore.

But back to the experience.

I love people watching, to me travelling isn’t just eating the food or taking photos or visiting attractions, It’s watching the people and getting a feel of how they live their life. To see the world from a range of perspectives, from high above in the plane, to in-person.

Strolling down the cobbled-streets of Lisbon, it made me think about all the theme parks I want to make that draws inspiration from all these places I’ve been, and watch people live and make memories in them. It’s funny, when people think theme parks, they think attractions. When I think theme parks, I think of a mini-city.

Travelling always opens up my soul, so much so that it makes me really want to DO something. But as always I don’t know WHAT to do. Thankfully this time around I have the TEDx event to pour this energy into. I just hope that this flame won’t die the moment I return to SIngapore.

I almost feel bad that I feel more alive and at home, despite the lack of familiarity, here in a foreign country that I know nothing about. It’s exciting, the unknown and uncertainty, I know for fact that next time I come back, I won’t have this same excitement, it’ll be a different sort of excitement, kind of like watching a sequel to movie rather than the first movie in a franchise. But I digress, What I really wanted to say is that I feel so bad that I don’t speak the language of the people here.

I don’t know why, I always feel bad, borderline guilt in fact, when I visit a country and don’t speak their language. Because I shouldn’t visit their country and expect them to speak my language…I think that’s why I ended up multi-lingual,.

FYI, when spoken, Portuguese and Spanish are nothing alike.

Speaking of which I ran into a solo female traveler like myself, in the park, from Spain. We conversed a little in Spanish, well she did all the talking, I just said Si a lot, but OMG I ACTUALLY UNDERSTOOD HER.  All that hard work feels so worth it in little moments like this.

And that’s kind of the end of today’s rant,

Because complimentary hotel Wi-Fi is slow everywhere except in South Korea, I’ll only be able to edit and upload photos when I’m back in Singapore.

I’m sort of, just a teeny weeny little bit dreading going back now.

It’s weird, despite it’s complete lack of Asianess, Europe seems to sit pretty well with me.

這裡人的素質真的在某種程度上有差

I also realized, rather amusedly, that certain parts of Japan actually has a rather European look to it, hence my sense of comfort, except in Japan, there’s that Japanese vibe everywhere you go.

OH and one last thing, I feel like if someone imported Taiwanese aboriginal things here, it’d be a huge hit. Tribal things seems to be quite popular here.

And that is all from the Chocmon today! I shall go crash now…after I brush my teeth and wash my face.

To think that I wanted to finish a chapter of my iron man fic today. *conks out*

Sorry~

Sorry life, I cannot fucking deal with you right now.

I just cannot.

I just need to explode somewhere but I can’t and have nowhere to explode.

One friend has her own problems and I don’t wanna rain on my other friend’s parade.

Nobody should have to deal with my shit, I don’t even feel like all this bitchy little things justifies the level of imploding I wanna do, and that’s what pisses me off the most.

UGH

你的人生課題

很多人喜歡問,"人生的意義是甚麼?"

我是為甚麼活著?

我是為什麼而生?

有些哲學家認為人生是沒有意義的.

我相信人生的意義是自己創造的.

我認為每個人生下來都有自己要修的一項人生課題.

一項你自己所選擇的人生課題.

我的人生課題是"平衡".

你的人生課題是什麼呢?

Gamers are masochists

Gamers are masochists.

We willingly go on crazy hard quests, with monsters/bosses we absolutely hate, that can kick our asses a gazillion different ways.

I just saw a MH4U meme that is basically a picture of one of the new monsters with a lot of ‘Nope’s surrounding it.

We moan, whine and bitch about how scary and impossible the monster is to defeat, but at the end of the day, we will pick up our 3DS, pack our items and go on the crusade to hunt them giant mammals and reptiles.

Because gamers are masochists.

Take time off and do nothing

City life is all about hustling and bustling. We are always trying to be more productive, more efficient.

But you know something?

No matter how much you read, how much you work, how many apps you use, there will always be things to do.

You’ll never be productive enough.

So instead of trying to do a million and one things in a day and failing to finish all of them, take some time off, find a nice place with a nice view and just do nothing.

It’s surprisingly difficult to do nothing and chill because we are so used to squeezing productivity out of every minute of our life.

But yes, relax, chill, do nothing. Feeling restless is much better for your sanity than being overwhelmed by the ocean of never-ending tasks and deadlines.

There, I said it, I gave you permission, now go slack without guilt! You deserve it!

I went out braless and no one gave a shit

I don’t have much in the boobs department, I’ve made peace with that a long time ago.

Small boobs have their own advantages as well (and so the internet will try to tell you).

One of which is the freedom to not wear a bra.

Now, when the web tells you people with small boobs don’t need bras, they’re not being exactly truthful.

We don’t need it for support.

But we do need it if we want to have boobs.

That and also to not be obscene, with nipples sticking out of our shirts.

But yes, nearly all females will tell you that we hate bras.

They’re constricting and uncomfortable and if not for the fact that we need to wear it, be it for the sake of courtesy or physical support, we wouldn’t.

So recently, I was all, ‘one of the major advantages or having small boobs is that we can get away with not wearing bras’, hence I decided to capitalize on this perk.

I went and bought pasties and on Monday, finally left the house, free of the contraption known as a bra.

Before I even stepped out of the house, I already had a million and one concerns.

Do I look alright?

Do I look completely flat?

Is this shirt too thin?

Is anyone going to know I’m not wearing a bra?

I finally settled on a shirt which looked horrible when I do wear a bra and got my ass out of the house.

At first I was extremely self-conscious, but no one acted weird around me.

Then I got to school…and everyone still acted exactly the same as they do every other day.

Then class started and I actually had to do work and use my brain…and soon I forgot all about my braless state.

In fact, after class ended, I was so tired that all I wanted to do was to go home and sleep; I didn’t even remember I was without a bra until my bag jostled my boob when swung it off on the bus.

It was really anti-climatic really.

I got home, changed into my home clothes (faster than I usually did because I didn’t have to take off my bra) and came to one conclusion.

I went out braless and nobody gave a shit.

Not even me.

I guess maybe if I wore something revealing or with a plunging neckline then maybe someone would give a shit.

But yea, unless you look obscene, no one is going to notice, much less care.

Because everyone has better things in life to worry about than your boobs and bra, yourself included.

Some people say it’s a very liberating experience, and it really reassures you about your sexuality and femininity…

Honestly though, it just feels like every other day, except I got to go about it without elastics around my rib-cage.

Revolutionary isn’t it?