103 | Grazie di Cuore, Italia

It’s coming close to 2.30AM and I can’t sleep, but I wouldn’t call it jetlag, rather, the reinforcement of an already screwed up sleep schedule during the Italy trip. I slept at about 4AM in Singapore prior to the trip and it was about 10PM Italian time – so I followed a most comfortable sleep-wake cycle there. Unfortunately not very conducive for social life back here in SG, but until I can rectify that, am making the best of it by coming by here!

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Firenze is located in central Florence and is quite honestly a great place to be. When I went there the weather averaged 16-18 deg. celsius, a little cold for me but otherwise perfect, with sunny, clear skies. I heard the summer is hell though, and wouldn’t dream of heading there in that kind of heat (39 deg.)

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A close friend was telling me how the charm of Florence was not the city itself but its vicinity and after this trip I can’t help but concur. If the nearby places like Regello, Barberino are so tranquil, I would love to see Chianti, which was recommended. Almost guaranteed to have breathtaking scenery and brilliant weather.

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Don’t ask me how, but landed in Prato Centrale somehow – godforsaken place, totally not touristy, no cabs no nothing. Quiet suburb, a welcome break from the city but not ideal for staying long. Not even a single restaurant open, probably good for just looking at how people live in suburban Italy.

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Never fully understood the attraction of sunset/sunrise, but I felt this was a mandatory travel shot, haha.

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Was immensely blessed to have been able to go for nightly walks/H2H time in Italy. Much of the time my schedule in Singapore doesn’t allow for this – every meal and spare time is planned, and I miss spontaneously spending time with my inner circle. My estate is boring, though I do enjoy nightly drives. Italy was brilliant for walking at night. Quiet streets, awe-inspiring architecture and food available at night just makes for very conducive, lucid rumination. In a sense this was healing for me, with just the right company and right setting to be able to recuperate. This made the entire trip more than worth it. Visited Ponte Vecchio and the Baptistry of St. John at night and they were stunning. Won’t lie, it’s a bit dangerous especially when I headed out alone, but for the healing I got, very worth it.

All in all, Italy is pretty and a place I would want to revisit. Maybe not Milan, but definitely will head back to Florence. Needs extra care when travelling alone but I can deal with that.

Five days worth of healing felt like soothing salve on a wound that had been left to fester for too long. For the longest time since the term started I feel like I’ve been walking on a tightrope, my commitments and obligations stretching me in different directions. I would overpromise and then come to default on my promises, which stresses me out a great deal. I think the question right now would be how to balance out career and personal growth, but academics are getting in the way by taking up so much of my time. Hopefully with the pitiful 2 modules this semester I have a little more time to work on my other ventures (ie. writing, theatre) and not be one foot in, one foot out of everything.

Career will require a good amount more devotion these coming few months as I pick up the ropes. There’s a very pressing need for me to fill the gaps in my skill set, which are not entirely pleasant, and that has me a bit worried. For every unpleasant thing I force myself to go through, I take extra time to recuperate and it just doesn’t add up. Guess as always, it’s a balancing game. At this point in time I can confidently say career comes first, excluding my family and inner circle. Writing has been subordinated for the time being and I flat-out refuse to be ashamed about it. As I said, balancing game, finite resources, make the best of it. Shouldn’t, and don’t want to penalize myself even more emotionally for making choices that look wiser in long-term. Other than finite resources there are also some tough choices to be made, involving my area of specialty given that I won’t be going to university, and how I can buff myself in that area, leveraging on my strengths. I have been procrastinating on this because I haven’t been particularly pulled toward anything, which is unusual – so I think this might be one of those decisions that just take time to make. So be it. I would rather take more time with this than have to backtrack (note: not reiterate, backtrack) somewhere down the road.

I am very lucky in that I have a massively supportive inner circle and family. Though they begrudge the spontaneity and my overly macro modus operandi, they do their best to provide scaffolding or support, whichever is more critical. I am even more blessed in that they are all people who actively learn and share – though we stagnate sometimes most of the times we are progressing, and I think that’s important for growth as a unit. I really appreciate and cherish them, which would justify why I am constantly ready to drop all my shit for them at any given time of the day. They are my biggest priority for now – for some, it’s relationship building, and for others it’s collaboration. Either way the mutual understanding and differences we share make me extra grateful to have found these incredible people, and hopefully I will be able to give them even more before I turn 20 next year.

I have been neglecting my physical/mental health to an extraordinarily large extent this year – find it hard to even recall the number of MCs and medications I’ve taken. Think it’s high time I placed more importance on this since I’ve never truly honoured it as a priority.

Wrapping up the year is never easy, especially not finding dozens of loose threads that you need to fix in the last few months. Just one last final push before the new year comes along. This Italy trip was timely – stay in a place for too long and you stagnate in mindset and perception, and that was what had happened to me. In retrospect it was a humbling learning experience, and I came back refreshed and with a slightly clearer idea of what I need to execute to make this year count. Now I just need to get down to it – that’s an encouragement in itself. 🙂

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