these wretched thoughts

“21 guns”; green day plays on the speakers at full volume, because i need to tune out the world and hear my own thoughts. this is what i am thinking, right in the now.

i wish i could, i wish i could. but i can’t.

so much going on, so many plans, so many ifs, so many inadequacies.

the rambos, do not realise how much i miss them, now that we have our little cocoon of happy.

i  just hear your story; unadulterated.

there is this sense of suffocation; of the inability to move, or think, or rest.

need space, need space, need space.

just let me breathe a little, please?


delayed post: letters from the road; starry starry night

We spent last night at the Mt John star observatory; it was breath-taking. And when you do catch your breath, it is taken from you again because your eyes adjust to  even more darkness and you see even more of them stars.

I wouldn’t go as far as to call the experience spectacular; but it surely was beautiful. And humbling. How tiny we are in respect to the earth; and how tiny the earth is in respect to the sun, how tiny the sun is in respect to most everything else in space.

Makes you feel that maybe none of us are entitled to anything from anyone really; and how truly insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.

And yet, the God that made all these magnificent bodies, made me too. And with such care that I look like no other, right down to my fingerprints and the odd shape of my ears.

I imagine him in his throne room with all these little balls of light floating around him, plucking one or two out randomly and juggling them, or practising catch with them. Maybe making one shine brighter or in brilliant colours.

Oh, to twirl Andromeda around his little finger as he thinks. And yet, there in his right hand, he has earth, zoomed in on me. Tuned right into my walkie-talkie frequency, knowing my exact waking moments and unspoken thoughts. And he’s tuned to me 24-7; just because he wants to be. He WANTS to be.

Isn’t it unconscionable then that I am not tuning it, except when its convenient? There are days, weeks even months that go by sometimes without me tuning in. And why should I, in my finite smallness, behave as if its a one-way walkie-talkie, with me sending up requests and prayers when it suits me?

I imagine God sitting here, chuckling over something funny I said, tapping his fingers (I think he might be bored) and thinking up an animal to look funnier than the platypus, staring into space (haha, pardon the pun). Then he shoots up, pencil in hand, excited to hear my voice over the walkie-talkie “Celia-to-God. Over” and before he can’t even respond I rattle on about something I NEED, WANT, AM ANGRY ABOUT. Then God clears his throat preparing to say something back when he hears “Celia-Nothing-Further-OUT!”

And instead of sitting back and stewing that he didn’t get his say (I know I would), he watches me try to attack whatever is bothering me with my miniscule human strength, and then pushes up his sleeves and makes a few calls.

Suddenly and instantly hearts soften, skies brighten, and my world (pardon the pun, again) is set right. And then he spies me doing a jump and a YES! punch, thinking it was me that moved that mountain. He laughs; and lets me go on thinking that, his ears still warm from holding the phone, as he paved the way for me. The entire way. Nothing that happened was my effort; but he lets me believe that.

Denn laughs as he asks me what I am writing. He says “oh boy, are you sure you’re not being sacrilegious on some level?”

But These are my thoughts now; and I really don’t think the Big Man up there feels any offense.

letters from the road; crown highway

This is the second time we are taking the crown highway. It is undisputedly denn’s favourite drive in south island; even more than the arthur’s pass, or the haast past (a close second).

I don’t mind taking the same road back, especially since I sorta slept through bits of the first drive (I blame the Indian meal we had before the drive. Something about Indian food always gives me a food coma after; denn is unaffected after training 2 yrs with his boss)

Its a clear day; when I say clear I mean unmarred blue skies. Its surreal, like a painting whose artist forgot to put in clouds. Its almost a wedgewood blue, if you know what I am talking about. Its not bright blue, it has a pastel to it.

And there are these sprigs of vertical trees. I say sprigs because they look like super long wheat sprigs (without the wheat). Words fail me! (No!) Let’s put it this way, if I had to paint it, it would just be lines shooting out of the ground, single stem, like a narrow fan.

We’re on route to queenstown, for lunch. We had a deal. fish and chips last night and japanese for lunch. I am right sick of fish and chips; even if my forever boyf isn’t.

I threw up dinner last night (no alarm folks). it was probably just the separation anxiety starting; or just a small rejection on my body’s part for fish and chips; or the shot nerves over a problem at work, bug bites, then acting out at a benign comment, made by an unsuspecting friend. Anyway, thankfully it doesn’t seem like food poisoning cos denn is fine; and made me drink L and P to settle the tummy. We have been eating well, not chapalang food, no fret. Pls do not share this nugget with my father who will worry unnecessarily.

We start the long road back to Christchurch. We are making good time, and seem to have a day to spare. Looking forward to our night on the star farm in Tekapo; we haven’t booked it yet; we intend to do so tonight, when we decide where we want to sleep for the night.

There’s a dark shroud of blah hanging over me; I always have the same problem at the end of a holiday (or every sunday evening before school starts). That sickening dread in the tum. its been a long while since I had a work free time off.

Post edit:

In the midst of our japanese lunch; we picked the most traditional looking place in Queenstown. We paid for 2 hour parking; and got here juz before they closed for lunch. Thank God for globalisation; traditional hot japanese food in the middle of New Zealand.

This has to be one of the best japanese meals we’ve had; and we’ve had plenty of japanese food; even Michelin-starred morimoto in New York. Maybe its because we were so cold; and there’s nothing quite like a bowl of hot noodles, and a Sapporo on draft for denn.

Good meal; scenic drive awaits. Star observatory booked for tomorrow night; as our end-of-trip treat.

letters from the road; coots

Others take snapshots with their cameras; little itty bitty point and clicks, old fashion films, disposable wind ups, big ass professionals with tripods etc. I take my snapshots between my fingers, with my little trusty blackberry using words.

The sea is bright blue, a kind of electric brilliant blue, not even aqua marine. We are in a boat, sailing through the Milford sounds, on the top deck. The sun’s out to play, and I am loving the shadows they cast on the deck. I’m the only one sitting down; inciting a lot of stares but it doesn’t bother me. The rest of them are hanging around the rails. Everytime the boat gives a lurch they all stagger like drunks and I snigger into my scarf and no one can see me.

The cliffs are harsh, almost vertical. And these beautiful trees that cling to its sides for dear life. I like the milford sounds better than the doubtful sounds. Which are -in correction of my earlier post- really fjords, not sounds. They are named wrongly. Fjords are created by glacier action on rocks. These are Fjords.

There’s this old couple from Hokitika on board with us. He wears a hearing aid and has crow lines on his face. He’s smiley though he doesn’t talk to us and gives a light blush whenever I direct comments his way. His partner is twice his size and wonderfully chatty. She tells me how this is her first trip to the sounds. And how she is not liking the cold either. They are very affectionate with each other for old people. A lot of whispering and giggling and cuddling. He walks off to look around then comes back and sits with her, kiss her cheek, press repeat. It is almost as if he walks around juz so he can kiss her cheek.

she calls him “her old coot”; she doesn’t refer to him as her husband, but her partner. Religion aside, It really doesn’t matter; the only difference between the two is for the lawyers to debate. There is clearly love here; and I hope these two stay this way as long as they shalt live.

Letters from the road; snoozy

Today we embarked on a pretty long coach-coach-cruise-coach-cruise ride; just to see the Doubtful sounds. There is nothing doubtful abt it; it is timeless and majestic. And it is eeriely silent; there is no sound; except for the incessant chatter of some of our fellow passengers.

The seas got a bit choppy, and in usual fashion I promptly curled up and went to sleep. Denn tried to wake me up thrice, he claims, once to see the seal colony, once to see a U-shaped valley and the final time to see penguins. I slept off an hour of the 3 hour cruise portion, and when I woke up we were right there in the heart of the sound. (Again, its called a sound; but its really a valley created by water action)

A nice english couple has kinda adopted us. So its nice. They constantly watch out for us and make sure both of us have company. So when I was taking my snooze; denn had company. They laughed when I told them one day I’ll buy me a mountain. They said “you sure have the most unusual dream, most people want a house or a fancy car; but you want a mountain.” I said when I have my mountain, I will make a hot pink sign that says “CELIA’S MOUNTAIN” and if they do see it driving one day; pls drive up and come have a coffee with me.

I am not sure if we’re ready to go home; really. I can’t stand the cold for much longer; and everything seems crazy expensive here, especially eating out; but I love this idyllic way of life; this having no expectation and no plan and just driving. I have a couple of sandfly bites; which are driving me nuts (and on my face!?!); but otherwise I love that we get to see wild seal pups and penguins and sheep and cows and deer and pigs. I love that everyone is so nice, and chatty. I love that there is all these nooks that one can disappear into to have a spot of reading.


letters from the road; treehouse

We’re IN a treehouse. We’re staying here for the next two nights. Its beautiful, all the walls are made of logs and it smells wonderful of wood and fresh towels.

Nestled in the trees with birdsong (earlier today) and we have a little pocket of open sky outside and the stars have all come out to play.

Living in a treehouse is not that great in the night: there are little gaps in the logs and the chill slips in. The heater is too far away from the bed (and obviously there is no furnance or fireplace in a treehouse). Thankfully we have an electric blanket.. But what good is a hot bum and cold arms?

So we’ve been on the road seven days; and its been mostly fun, although we’ve been snapping at each other a bit yesterday and today. Maybe its gotta do with close proximity and 24-7 of each other. Although I know when he goes back to work I’ll have my usual pangs of separation anxiety. What a stupid conundrum.

But we’ve talked it out over beer and coke, neither of us stays mad for long. Also we can’t keep quiet and we’re the only other person on this trip so.. Anyway, back to treehouse living.

We’re staying in said treehouse for 2 nights because tomorrow we’re going on a helicopter ride and glacier hike. Yes, me. Miss scared-of-heights is getting into a heli. Oh boy I hope I don’t wet myself. The thought of it is giving me a cold sinking feeling in the tum, and I think my hands are getting clammy and numb. Seriously. I juz got the good old joo yee yiu out (for the uninitiated, it is a red oil babies use, packaged in a glass bottle then a metal canister. I think its actual name is yu yee oil; but the family has called it joo yee yiu for as long as I know). Okay, so I’ve never quite been weaned off joo yee yiu, much to my mother’s chagrin. I use it so often denn is convinced when we do have babies they will come out joo-yee-yiu coloured.

This time tomorrow I’ll let everyone know how it goes. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

letters from the road; running from dinosaurs

I think I’ve figured out my fixation on New Zealand.

It is nature in its rawest form. Perhaps its because I’ve grown up in the city, at the time where Singapore was at its fastest development age. Even though it is the Garden City and we have no shortage of lush vegetation, everything is urban planned. Specific, man planted.

Over here, nature is as untouched as it gets (apart from making it accessible via roads), where wild grass, trees, plants just grow. The mountain scape is breathtaking. A lot of the time as denn drives I stare out into the mountains and think this was the same view the dinosaurs had.

Some places here look like they’re the set of Jurassic Park. I giggle everytime we see a goat (which we don’t see often here), part of me wants to get out the area soon before we become dinosaur food. Ah, the problems of an over active imagination.

The rocks here are ancient rocks, it always feels, not to be sacrilegious here, rather sacred. As if each had a voice and they whisper in the wind.

God must have been feeling rather whimsical, when he made New Zealand. There is really a whole palette of different colours here. So many hues of greens, blues, yellows, orange, browns.

Denn promises in the event that I predecease him, that he will bring our (still imaginary) children here once every 3 years. Whether to grieve or to celebrate or to meditate or to juz get together as a family. This is my favourite place in the whole wide world.

Maybe its cos it was in NZ that I feel was the cusp of becoming an adult. The transition between girl and woman. And because it was that summer in NZ with sooli, that I truly let go of broken-hearted broken dreams. To heal and to move on. NZ was my climb back up from Rock Bottom.

The sun is out! We’re heading towards the glacial regions. Fuelled our tummies and the car, and leaving the lovely Hokitika behind us.