idea of return

though i am away, far away from what would be the closest thing to me as a home (i moved around so much here and there that it is becoming almost stupid to determine what home is anymore. if you are asking for a permanent address, i could answer that very easily- but for 'home'? i have no clue) spring is making its slow slow coming back on this side of the hemisphere.

the cyclic nature of certain things in life is very funny. you think for sure, by next year this time (or whatever the uni duration you are using), thing will be different (however it may be, taller, shorter, fatter, skinner, etc etc) or that one will be different (i suppose we all do age somehow. no escaping that at all, understood). so in commemoration of the recent birthday of the wee blog, i went back in time to see what was around last year this time:

and i thought: hmm not such pretty entry there. rather depressing if i may say so. then i wonder,l where am i in the world today? i am still lost and does not know where i am do i... but no, i am not feeling it so strongly as i did a year ago. perhaps a just a vague sense of loss and empty space, despite of many nice things around me. may be i am dreading heading back to toronto, knowing that as familiar as the place is and people are in toronto, my life in toronto really havent had any regular rhythm for a long while. it's always all over the place. bah.

one may think that is a very silly thing to worry about, but i think it's rather real: everything looks familiar yet you dont really recognize or emotionally relate to much things in that bizarre familiar environment! how weird is that. it's like having a massive brain injury. imposter world. i am as much at home in... anywhere really. i find this a tad difficult.

currently am spending a quality time with old friend, from a few chapters ago, in a place we didnt ever thought we would be meeting up. and here we are. and the evening is not too badly cold. it's all walkable and even pleasant by the canadian standard. and the bits of spring send from faraway places which arrived to my eyes through the untouchable, etherial emails were also real. and still real. it's coming around. 'upward and onward.'

so easy to say let your sail be taken by the wind, as wind directs the sail, not the other way around. but perhaps i should just trust it. my only concern is that this sail has perhaps too many holes. for now. but may be it'll be all alright with gentle spring wind. taking the worn boat to a new harbour. or is it the old harbour-


happy birthday blog!

just realized that my blog is now a year and two days old (first entry on 20.02.2009). many thoughts and events have passed and i am somewhat intact, oddly still in the same space: nothing definitive. how silly. im always late for birthday and this also proves to be the case here again. bah. i am glad that i started to write again and i am so grateful for all the people who have shared their joy, travesties, problems, jokes, tears, laughter, ticks, communicable diseases, catholic school guilt, salt, bread, water, beer, photos, time, money (oh yes money), space and sanity.

and life.



thank you all so much. i cant tell what i have achieved by going through so many little and big things in last year (and two days!) but one thing is for sure: it was a nice ride and i am glad that i am alive, loving and being loved, in midst of celebrations and trials, sharing and offerings, grace and childish hearts. let see what the next bits will bring up. because at this point, there are many things to be grateful for, though there are specific things that are difficult. hopefully spring would be on top of the list... no, im not checking the weather forecast. yep, being hopeful.



this is a little lamb who is hiding in the corner, all by itself, quiet and quite snug, in the middle of a crazy busy scene of chagall's la creation de l'homme (1956-1958), which i was so lucky to see in person in recent cote d'azure sojourn (more to come about that later). by complete chance, we found out about this museum on the last day in uk soil. nice!

the trip was short, much rain and bit of brilliant sun on the occasions it felt like it. but the day we went to see chagall was one of the most depressing, wet, soggy, relentless, rainy, oppressive, soul-destroying, rainy day. and voila, there they were, beautiful paintings with stories leaping out, all characters always in motion

(and keeping dry, bastards)

and whilst it was lovely to mingle around strangers among spectacular paintings, i was thinking about this stranger lamb.

(okay, so not all were strangers anyhows. especially those generic camera-pointing-mad-tourists. moi? non!)

(i left my batteries at home, hence, was pointing someone else's camera, you see, ahaha.)


but i thought, that lamb is so content. it's not going anywhere. in the middle of the crazy bustle of creating of mankind! there are many other animals in conspiration, especially on the bottom left hand corner, the three stooges. but this guy, so happy to be where he is. i wonder at times if i will find a place so snug warm happy comfortable and full of beauty. i seem to find them, and i keep moving on. something is not right in those statements, however, i keep trudging on for now.

perhaps one day, the right painter will put me on the right spot on canvas, once again, tabula rasa at the present.



thanks mr chaucer

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
["For this was Saint Valentine's Day,
when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]
chaucer, parliaments of foules, 1382

i dare say happy valentine's day tonight, it is already over in my current time zone, however, since i quite often straddle both time zones (the eastern standard time zone. i suppose that's going to be home for awhile, whether i like it or not! ahaha the turn of fate!), i am going to scramble to put this last bit out. it is almost scary to think of posting such thoughts as i, ahem, fancy myself as a bit of dry cynical realist, cough cough.

saint valentine is a funny one. did you know that there are seven st. valentines who are registered by the roman catholic saints registry? but for 14.02, there is only one st. valentine designated. and believe it or not, it is the unruly red-pen writer chaucer who may have popularized saint valentine with the idea of romantic love. the fourteenth century in england mustve been a quite a funny place. hundreds years war, the great famine, the great schism of the west (three popes!), the bubonic plague- and the invention if knitting techniques.. i suppose they needed some sort of desperate hope to elevate themselves from the dark ages.

i am thinking about where i am in life. im poised to leave back soon to north america, no where anchored (not even debts, ahaha), many people i would like to see and be with but all being kind of far, or as i move around continuously, they all become far, the idea of love is a very taunting one. certainly you cant make me believe in this hallmark pink frilly love buttock-baring cherub with fat cheeks business! on top of that, he also shoots arrows! to unsuspecting bystanders, what an #*$!

apparently the mailing system also chokes today. it is estimated about a billion cards are sent around the world for v day (us greeting cards association). i havent done it for ages- sending v day cards, but that does not mean i am not affected by it, quite a contrary. this year, it also coincides with lunar new year's. and i am going to hold onto these two markers as lifesavers, as i know there may be some more rough time coming in near future with uncertainty works etc.

the romantic love- stemming from the courtly love of the middle ages, does not have to be the ultimate trump of all loves. in fact, it tends to be the weakest one. have you realize even the ultimate social institution of romantic love is always surrounded by somewhat expected situations of annulments and divorces? there are other types that just cannot be separated, hence, stands stronger. the bonds between families cannot be cut through the law. many tries to maul it by self-sanctioned ex-communication and screaming matches, but once a child is born, we can be certain there were (if not 'are') parents who were responsible. for friendship. the bonding of friendship can overcome the cracks of romantic love- as some of us have dear friends who transcedended from awkward courtship to solid friendship. the love of idealists and realists. the love of all things that are fragile. the unacquainted love. the list may go on and on.

it would be rather silly and very unlike me to celebrate valentine's day- what do you mean i can only celebrate the idea of love once a year? for someone who was stoned than hanged? no thanks, there are plenty of other great days, like... all days! but i suppose there is no harm done for letting the world know that i am thankful, whenever the day or time may be. so here it is, my greeting, quite a wide comment from chaucer's birdmating comment:

for the life that is fragile and somewhat distorted, you all contributed to make it bearable and even pleasurable. as an individual, i am weak and insignificant. but as an individual, i cant help but be part of the society. and what a nice thing it is to be welcomed in various overlapping communities by very dear people. there is no point of listing them individually, as the real connection does not need statements nor neon signs. unless one likes it *well i dont. so here it is to all of us, thanks and love to you all, single or attached, young or old, family or friends, from the past or continuing into the future,

have a great soppy valentine's day.
there's nothing richer than love,
whichever form it may come as.


ode to torn thoughts

looking into the calendar
i see a very simple day
none-interested opaque grey sky of
gentle rolling hills of silence
dotted with occasional bird calls

soon, all will break loose
with abandon, joy and excitement
fiery display of love and affection
childish explosions and declarations
however gaudy it may appear
or shallow and pink it could be
may be off white and precious
much like a new child's dress
no expectations or worries
of mud or dirt on the trims

i package myself in cynical wrapping paper
and gather courage to look right through the faces
of lovers
of friends
of couples
of human bonds
i close my eyes
to dark space of silence

instead of sharing a heart
i am tearing a heart
or two.


a zen practice

one lived in table. no expectations. no fuss.
a slow shaving on the outer layer. one part at a time. by dustfuls.
naked new skin of the wood and nourishment.
a renewed table. a calmer monkey. took hours.
with newly found surface, ready to be used,
with a mind that is open and no longer desperate.
time comes and time goes. and without shedding the old,
there'll be no new. but the new already belongs to old.
one ceases to exist in definitive terms, but of moving
present perspective. many lives crossed in my mind while
i stood there in the kitchen and cared for the table.
love to you all. Posted by Picasa

...and i also made a tres leches cake. remembering all my great friends in lincoln, ne, especially! yum...


'you must believe in spring'

...so in a world of snow, of things that come and go,
where what you think you know, you cant be certain of
you must believe in spring and...

spring approaching here in uk, slowly and even so surely but one must believe that it's coming. perhaps not at the speed i could see, but with the other lives who are much more vulnerable to the harshness of winter. if the birds are back and loudly complain (just a tad) about the wet raindrops in early mornings and the little spring bulbs are out and shooting through the dark earth (though some of them baring their white butts towards the sky- the snow moved them around, what a bully!), then i have to believe in spring, though i cant see it right away.

on saturday, a rare crack of smile from the sky, high of 8'c (ridiculous! i know!) and sunshine. the two overgrown children could not help it but to pop out like toasts from the toaster, up the hills to the cracken edge (local hill).

a lazy saturday afternoon, while the earth was busy drying itself from embarrassing wetness of the winter, creatures big and small were out and being noisy. cows. sheeps. no baa lambs yet. chickens. children with sticks and throwing stones around. dogs with tails high and alert- smell! oh the wonderful smell of warmed earth and grass!

let the warmest wind of the year brush against everyone's winter-soft cheeks. let the illusive warmth of the end-of-the-winter-sun chill your toes and make you jump from stone to another, wet and slick. the earth, looking green and fresh, grins and waits till one slightly missteps, then comes the great sound of the spring mud- splat, squish, flop. noses and cheeks, red, now in turn, warming the cold air moving.

and the intoxicating smell of the spring.
head full of deliriously delicious green and blue,
sky high and hills wide,

and yesterday and today, back to a bit blistery winter. but this monkey loves grey. especially when she knows spring is on its way. less than a month left in this fantasy extended time in europe. soon i will be once again, an anonymous bird perched on the high branches of concrete tree in a big city, with head deprived of sleep, with perpetual invasion of light, light and more light. and probably a quite a good chunk left in the old world, which will be filled again, slowly. and just like spring, i have to believe that it will be filled again. one degree at a time. and it is so easy to believe in such hopes. especially when there are so many upcoming heraldry of brilliant sun once again, shining on top of slightly shivering red monkey head.

...and children face the world that's far beyond the years
above the darkest sky, the far horizons lie
with all the reasons why, you must believe in spring...


platform 13

there has been a death on train lines of manchester piccadilly yesterday morning. all kinds of mayhem ensued from it: closed platforms, cancelled trains, backlogged travellers, all sorts. 31 years male, appears to be hit on with a freight train on platform 13. and the web discussion forum on newspaper articles range from pity to anger, as expected. some had an extra room in their minds to wish the ex-man and the inhabitants of now man-less world of his. some vented frustration over the transit system delays. a few 'condemned' this 'selfish' act.

i passed the news by as nothing really happened in this world. there were food on the stove, fire to be fed in the hearth and i was simply too immersed in my world, which was warm and nice. cliche picturesque and beautiful. death? let it pass by, thanks. just as if i would dismiss people handing out various advertisements on the street. i have no idea what they are, but i dont want them- how dare are they to waste paper and resources like this, hrump! how impractical solution for others, as they have to suffer the consequences of his action, would you pass the salt please, etc etc.

but this morning, i feel quite... different. by this age, i think we all have been there once at least: wishing to cease to exist. so painful and excruciating that you want to keep the life away, far as you could, including snuffing it off. done. the only difference between the living and the dead ones are very slight: mission successful or unsuccessful. just that the actual results may be quite different, even considered polar-opposite.

if dying was so easy, i bet there will be many bits missing in this world. including myself. call it indetermination or inept execution. even stroke of luck or results of the kindness of the world toward me. the bare fact is that i am still here and though the current situation may look less than ideal, i am still able to find happiness in things, people and the world, in a tangible way. if it was to be completely lucid mad happiness, i would also take that.

so in that sense, i feel sorry for the loss of a life. he's my age. i dont know what his story is. but i bet like all people, there will be persons who will feel a direct fang of loss. perhaps people who he didnt even consider. people who he didnt even know of their existence. then also with the others who will resonate with the loss, even though it wont be their direct loss: people who had similar situations, people with lost people in their lives (all of us).

dear nameless man, you may have left this place, seeing it a very lonely place. the suffering either snuffed off your will to live or you caved in great temptation for what seemed to be a practical solution for a temporary situation. but i am not to criticize, as whole as a society, we have failed you somehow. it isnt my fault, but i am sorry to see you go. not because i had something i wanted from you, but because of the joys you were entitled to and you did not receive, whatever the reason is. i would have gladly sat down with you and be an anonymous listener. next time, do catch me and tell me. be well.


im still well, thanks!

it is hard to believe how fast last couple days have gone. where did they go? anyways. i know couple peeps have been worrying over monkey's mental health. no major worries. i was quiet, but often it's necessary... borrowing a friend's expression: 'like digestion.' touche.

i finally booked my ticket to head back to yyz and realized that i still have to find out a way to get out of possible easter manual labour- it falls on 04-04-10 so perhaps it will be a little bit difficult this time, as gene pools have been notified of monkey arriving in vicinity of march. help!

with booking that ticket back to north america, i should make it clear that 1. i did make the audition and was offered a space, 2. however there was not enough money to make it a possibility, 3. hence, i will not be attending school in europe for next fall. 4. no, i am not too disappointed, though it would be very easy at this point to feel really bad about it. see, the funny thing is whilst everyone is enjoying lower interests- people with car payments, mortgages, business loans and such, it is that same lower interests that makes it very difficult for trusts and foundations to handout money, as they are usually bound to spend only the interest and investment incomes, not capital itself.

i initially felt ridiculously low after the audition, then felt liberated- i am not in charge of my own audition surely! ahaha. how silly of me to assume that things will always go 'well,' meaning exactly how i would prefer. however, no one can state for certain that it was NOT GOOD that i wasnt able to make the finances work, as it is impossible to tell how that result will guide further events in the future. if i was sensible and took the teaching post out of school, i would have never made it to banff, meaning i wouldnt have applied to rncm in the first place. so strategy: wait and see. strictly it's not a strategy but only option. so, yyz, be monkey ready for march 2010!

so after couple days of clearing various things inside of my head- personal, external, whatevers in between, i took a surprise trip to the city of light, where i have gained another point of view to life and was affirmed about the true nature of my situation: it is good. it may not be exactly to my requested details, but i am still rich thanks for the experience, the people and enormous support that is freely offered to me. how nice! it was nice enough that i lost my head and have done something i never have done up to date: miss a bus.

you see, i was taking the 'slowest' route possible. it went like this:

chinley to sheffield: dep 615 or something
sheffield to london st pancras: dep 730
london victoria to paris gallini: dep 1200
via: dover-calais (take the ferry), arrival 2130
*this, actually was a bit early. actual arrival was 2030

then proposed idea for returning was:
paris gallini to london victoria: dep 1400, arrival 2030
london euston to manchester piccadilly: 2200
pick up at manchester: 0020
*this, i did not make it.

the visit was fun, exceeding initial expectations- perhaps one day i will unfold what exactly have happened but at this point, it would be a rather ill choice to talk of certain matters in public. i bet you are intrigued now muwahahaha. anyways, the point that i will share, however, is that i missed the 1400 bus. i lost my head, didnt leave enough time, spent bloody euros on furiously mad but dedicated cab driver (who was really really keen on driving as madly as possible), who got me to the station long enough to see the bus... leave!

i have to say, it was bloody hilarious at a point. it gets funnier as the cost of travel rises exponentially towards the sky!

the re-routing took a bit of brain bashing. eurostar would burn about 220 pounds/euro (they are about the same now), couldve been a little cheaper if i went to lille and then hop to eurostar (still about 180), to fly to manchester or to gatwick was about 140. the night bus ( ! ) was 44. now, that's a hell of a price hike from 13 one-way but still hella cheaper than 220.
so at the end, with couple people biting their nails, went like this:

1830 gare de lyon: send off a friend who was supposed to send me off (ahahaha)
2000 gallini: bus, take two
*0100 calais border control, transfer to dover
0430: arrival in victoria, london
*this was to arrive in 0600 so i walked around london westminster area for two hours, trying not to freeze. the guards at the cathedral thought i was mad.
1130: london euston to manchester piccadilly
1530: catch a ride, arrive home * die

and i cant say i was worn out nor fed up. i was alright, the travel did burn me the extra bit as i missed the bus (i still cant believe it. what a dumb kid! where was my head? lost in clouds or something!) but this bus trip did make me see things that are quite different. for instance, one gets so used to seeing duty-free shops and fancy coffee tables as one cruise across the airports- esp the major ones. in bus station in victoria, you could get a dried out pakora that's been warmed under the white light of the metal displace prison of multiple newsagent stores that looks exactly the same. and the bus driver did come up and asked politely but with real threat that 'there will be no smoking of weeds in the bus at any time' *ahaha.

the glimpse of people in a different point of lives, somehow all riding in the same bus. sadly it was largely collective of the poor, less-important, emigres, desperate. however with a few hopes- young laughing boys in their 20s, gambling their youth to the slim chance of better life, child asleep with half-opened bag of crisps, old and poorly dressed but firmly hand-held couples. the list would go on.

en route to paris, a person was actually stopped and detained from the border control in calais. they must be doing their initial check in dover, back check while the ferry's on water, to have a second chance to detain anyone they want. this man was nervous during the whole ride up to this point (he was right across from me) and when the police approached the bus as it unloaded from the ferry, he all the sudden had this air of resignation. then they came in the bus, took his passport, give it a good look, then took him and his baggages. not allowed... not now.

i am lucky to have the right to travel and see dear peeps. i am lucky to be able to dream and taking an audition, doesnt really matter it didnt work the way i want it to be. it hardly ever does. but one can always make something out of a situation. and that's the real hope isnt it! im healthy enough, happy enough, a few emotional wanting for this and that, but that'll always be there as long as i am alive. my gene pools are testing the maximum circuit load for monkey nerves, but it also signifies that i have family who cares for me, even not in exact way i want!

let me be strong and humble, let me not forget how i am to form and progress further- not of my own words and efforts, but through collective generosity of the souls around me, through interaction and with thankfulness. let me not be so foolish to determine a beauty of a curve while i am just a little projectile, as i cannot tell where life can lead and therefore to not to judge based on a short-term expectation of a narrow, self-centered vision. and love to you all. limited days now in europe for this visit. things are getting busier and i am getting ready to tidy up this voyage, one nautical knot at a time.