First Conversation

One thing that I’m thankful that I have is a curious mind. In particular, curiosity towards people. What makes them, them. I used to think it’s a petty “girl-thing” that my friends from Crescent found it awkward to initiate a conversation with someone whom they hadn’t talked to for a long time, because I had no qualms with doing that. But maybe, that’s just me.

Tonight’s one of those nights. It’s not so much of occupying my schedule – in fact I was looking forward to some exercise time after work – and definitely not for networking purposes. Simply, curious about how this person is. At the same time, a little nervous because I never had a one-on-one time with this acquaintance. Besides, she “has an accent” (pardon that ignorant phrase, but you get it), which makes me all the more nervous at the thought of meeting up tonight.

It started off with a random realisation some 5 years ago that she’s doing Environmental Science in UCLA, and I was like heyyy you’re doing that too. So I dropped a Facebook message to say that hey that’s interesting, tell me more about your programme. And then realised she’s a Christian and praises God through her photographs of nature. So I got in touch again by leaving comments on her photos. Randomly, last year or something, I asked her how she’s been keeping her faith because you know our course of study isn’t the easiest to deal with as a Christian. So it’s just been random dropping of messages here and there. It was not until December last year that she came to support a Human Library event I organised and I said, let’s meet up! I don’t say that for fun. For the past few months, it’s something that’s been on my mind but both of us couldn’t make it. Finally, it came to past tonight.

She made a comment tonight, we’ve never really talked, and it’s been 6 years since we last met – sort of. Ya so I guess if any of my friends hear this, they would probably think it’s awkward for me to reach out to her with such randomness. But well, I do such things. So what?

There were plenty we could talk about. Partly because we share some similarities (e.g. our faith, our interests), and I guess a large part of it was because we hardly knew anything about each other. Went as far back to our teenage years to tell our stories, went as far ahead to 5 years down the road where we see ourselves, talked about our families, where we are now, and many many more.

Time flew by just like that. I thought it was 9ish but no, it was 11pm by the time we said we should go. 

Quite an enjoyable night :)

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First Conversation

Elliot

Saw a young man with an army bagpack arriving at the cross junction almost the same time as I did. Felt that his eyes seemed a little unusual when he saw me. He hit the traffic light button on the right, and I hit the one on the left. That whole time as we waited for the traffic lights to turn green, I stood on the left of the post just sufficient to keep me out of his sight. I was just thinking, “I’m not staring at you so don’t whack me.” This was 11.30pm.

Finally, the lights in front of me turned green. Alas, he walked in the same direction when I thought he would go the other way and I would be safe. So I paced myself to stay behind him and made sure that he was always in my line of sight. Checked his hand, nope no dagger. Watched his arm, just in case he swung it at me. My mind rehearsed through the steps I would take to block his moves.

Finally, we reached the other side of the road. Should I go in the opposite direction and turn left since he’s on the right? Was he watching where I came from, would he think that’s unusual? Would he realise that I’m overthinking this whole situation? Hesitated for a while. 

Just as I took a step forward to the right, he turned and approached me.

E: Are you……. (I couldn’t hear him clearly)
Me: (Inched forward) Sorry, what did you say?
E: Are you WX from… (again I missed what he said)
Me: Sorry, from…? (At that point, I thought to myself, you’ve got it right but wait, how did you know me?)
E: Are you WX from ACS(I)?

(I wondered if he actually thought he got the wrong person by then)

WX: Oh yes I am. You are…?
E: You were in Guitar Orchestra right? I’m Elliot, do you remember?
Me: Oh! I thought you looked familiar (um, maybe not, until he asked lol). You… grew up! 

Alright that was an awkward response, but yeah. My last impression of Elliot was a young scrawny boy. And I was just stunned, totally unprepared for that situation. In fact I was prepared for another situation.

I did a rough estimate after we parted. He was probably in year 1 when I was in year 6. That gap woah. But I honestly had his name registered in my mind because I was rather close to this bunch in school. So yeah, not totally unfamiliar. That was an interesting night encounter.

Elliot

Connect

I remember when I first came in, I was eager to build connections with people, as usual. And that was probably what invited the mean colleague’s question of, “Why are you invading my private space?” I was surprised though, because she’s one of the last person here that I would want to come close to, because of her ill attitudes towards me right from the start which has often made me wonder in what ways have I offended her.

I guess that question affected the way I related with people around – perhaps even outside of work. I wasn’t sure, until yesterday.

I packed my bags and was ready to leave the office. The interns too. So we travelled on the train together. Just as we arrived at the train station, one of them asked, “What do you do in your free time?”

I was pleasantly surprised at that question. That was a question of who are you outside of work. Which, made me realise I’ve stopped asking this question for a long time. I also realised that there were several times that I wanted to know more about someone’s life, but I held myself back. Like, when the new girl came, and when my interns came.

Sometimes, I feel that one of the good in being a student is that there is fewer at stake. I didn’t have to mind any conflict in interest, I didn’t have to stop myself from doing certain things for fear of anyone thinking that I’m trying to outdo them. And I’ve been repeatedly told to make use of relationships, and that also means choosing who to get close to. An idea which I absolutely detest.

Maybe it’s just here. Or at least I hope it is. Even if it’s not, I hope my next stop will be one that allows the relator in me to relate with a clear conscious, out of a pure curiosity for that person’s life.

Connect

Ex-Classmate

Was walking towards the airport’s departure gate the other day, when I suddenly heard, “Enjoy your trip, Wan Xuan!”

I turned back to find that that was Alvin who walked past and I guess, just being cheeky. Was surprised to see him there, with a Changi Airport pass hanging from his neck. Both of us turned back to just have a little chat before I went past the departure gate.

That was interesting. Interesting because somehow I have the impression that I hardly bump into anyone else from that class but I’ve bumped into him several times. 

Interesting also because whenever I meet ex-classmates from that class, I would begin to wonder what’s going on in their minds. I changed A LOT ever since I left them. I intentionally did that because I left my comfort zone for a new cohort that I had never interacted with. I had to make new friends with a totally unfamiliar cohort. So yeah, I wonder if they are surprised that I actually ask questions to keep the conversation going.

Ex-Classmate

Share and Care

Went back to school to share about my job. A year ago, I was in their seats, and the pioneer batch was up here telling us about their finds in the Singapore market. Never thought it would be my turn to share. And maybe, I now understand a little more that tinge of tiredness that I heard in their voices a year ago. Now that I look back, I think school was a lot more exciting, with plenty of possibilities and opportunities, with minimal (?) consequences in the exploration.

I trembled a little at the thought of speaking again. It has been more than a year since I last presented – that was probably on my FYP poster. I guess, on top of the natural anxiety that most people would face in public speaking, there was also the fear of performing below expectation. Below my expectation for myself and below others’.

It seemed like I might really have lost it. That confidence, that boost of adrenaline. It’s either I lost it, or I am just uninterested. Or maybe both.

To speak, to educate, to inspire, to connect. The sound of these excites me. But we shall see. I believe there’s much to be discovered in this season of understanding who God has created me to be.

Share and Care

Missing a friend

There’s so much that I can be thankful for today, feeling so blessed! Thank You God, for such a sweet day :)

Was amused by a dream I had this morning. I dreamt of this friend whom I haven’t talked to since December. And the only time she crossed my mind recently was like Tuesday night when she wasn’t there for a dinner. So the dream came rather randomly, but it did make me miss this friend a little more haha

On this day 8 years ago, I walked out of school and made my way home. I took a bus to the MRT station when I bumped into another friend – who was supposed to be part of the surprise but she couldn’t make it cos of another appointment – and I thought it weird. I suspected something was going on (though she turned out to be not part of the surprise). So I took out my phone, and this friend whom I dreamt of texted something along the lines of “If you are my friend, you better come back to school now.” Well, she’s a close enough friend to demand something like that from me, all the time lol.

The surprise failed and that was why she had to get me back to school in that way – just so that they could carry on with their plan. We were all in different JCs then, but they travelled from all over Singapore so I guess we had to make their trip worth the while hahaha. We had a good laugh on that day. Even though that was a failed surprise, I appreciate the effort, the thoughts and the love behind it. 

Miss this friend man. If only we have the luxury of time to meet more often…

Missing a friend

Work life or study life?

A question I’ve been getting from people as I take my first steps into the working society. My answer remains. 

When JX asked me this when we were walking to the train station after dinner, I told her, “I prefer working, because like right now I’m just enjoying my evening without having to think about FYP, work,… which you probably are.” I think that was right on the bullseye and she got it, though that seems a bit ouch haha.

Work life or study life?