Time has definitely passed on. Every time I returned, there would be a time lapse of 8 years. How grandparents, aunties and uncles aged and how cousins grew so tall so quickly.
Here's a photo of my grandpa, I guess he's happy to see her grand daughter pointing a big camera in his face.
If I had to count which word my relatives said to me the most, it would have to be: eat.
A tradition in my hometown: before a big event, before we leave for a long journey, or return from a long journey, our loved ones would cook us noodle with hardboiled eggs. I ate grandma's homecooked noodles graciously, every mouthful reminding me of her warmth and thoughtfulness. This picture brings up bittersweet memories. It was my first family house, now sold to some family I don't even know.
Sometimes fragments of childhood memories would surface, fishing with friends and catching butterflies, fireflies, and the croaking of frogs into the night whilst I lay awake enchanted and listening. China has changed at such a breathtaking pace that the old china I once knew and left behind as a 9 year old girl has faded away and gone almost completely. Tall buildings mushroomed, and where there used to be people in farmer's cone hats carrying chickens and livestock, I see wider roads and traffic lights and hondas.
In this picture, people gathered on this bridge to take its last photographs, for it will be torn down the following day to make way for a new metro station
But every now and then, you spot a corner which remain completely unchanged, a reminiscence of a past soon to be forgotten
This lady is happy to see me, she keeps saying that I look like my mum. Although I have no recollection of who she is.
The weirdest thing about wondering around my hometown is that I get strangers coming up to me all the time, telling me how much I've grown.
To anyone else, this is just any old crumbling doorway. To me, it opens a floodgate of memories.
That's the little hole I used to peek out of for hide and seek. I stood there, my camera in hand, wanting to capture it all, as if I can still hear the laughter of the old days running with my cousins, and hear my late grandpa telling me to help him make the cotton blanket, and see the image of my late grandma lying lifeless at her deathbed as I cried for hours not wanting to let go.
I visted my old childhood house many times in my dreams. So it was a surreal feeling actually walking up the stairs to the room we stayed, now cobwebbed and deserted for years.
I clicked the shutter because I wanted to immortalise time, and that place I grew up in; before this precious piece of my memory fades and distorts into oblivion, before this building too gets torn down and replaced.
Let nothing hold you back from exploring your wildest fantasies, wishes, and aspirations. Don't be afraid to dream big and to follow your dreams wherever they may lead you. Open your eyes to their beauty; open your mind to their magic; open your heart to their possibilities.
Dare to dream. Whether they are in color or in black and white, whether they are big or small, easily attainable or almost impossible, look to your dreams, and make them become reality. Wishes and hopes are nothing until you take the first step towards making them something!
Dare to dream, Because only by dreaming, will you ever discover who you are, what you want, and what you can do. Don't be afraid to take risks, to become involved, to make commitment. Do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true. Always believe in miracles, and always believe in you!
It was an easy ascent especially from 5th to 7th station. The slope was mild and the sun was shining cheerfully upon us. Blue sky and beautiful large fluffy clouds came beneath our feet as soon as we climbed high enough and I was just blissfully happy and at peace purely by the enjoyment of capturing what laid before my eyes with my SLR.
As the climb got rocky and steep, each step was more laborious. I was surprised to find so many 7th stations we passed along the way, and wondered why this was so., The 'oh we're more than half way' became 'what? only 1/3 of the way?' by the time we looked at the climbing map. Soon we got onto our hands and knees and needed gloves in order to move upwards. Jade and Allee probably had more trouble than me purely due to them having smaller leg muscles, I found the stick I carried with me cumbersome and 'accidently' left it at one of the 7th stations.
As the sun began to fall down the western horizon, I pumped up the music. Ministry of sound made each step more encouraging and I discovered a technique which worked well for me. Music made me wanna dance, so I danced my way up, I liked doing a small runner up for about 10 meters, before my body built up the lactic acid from the increasingly thinning oxygen, then I would stop, rest, catch my breath, waiting for the rest of the girls to approach nearer, whilst appreciating the gorgeous view of clouds, foliage, mountains and lakes in the distance. There were a few zen moments during the climb which felt like pure bliss. It really felt as if all my worries were a world away and I was staring upon heaven, at this amazing creation on earth. It was just me, my music and my camera. I think moments like these allow me to detach to the point of spiritual enlightenment almost, a form of meditation, a realisation of inner strength, free from fear of anything that comes my way.
By the time we reached the hut, it was already pitch black. The final half an hour before we arrived was like pushing my body beyond its limits. Every 5 steps, we needed to pause abit to catch our breath, my SLR and backpack started to weigh a tonne and the absolute relief and delight when I finally collapsed my tired body on to the beach!
As I was starving, I was grateful for the warm dinner I wolfed down, even though I forgot what it was. I was grateful for the small warm spot on the floor which we could lie on and rest for a few hours before we would commence our ascent to our summit again at 2:30am.
Trouble was, I woke up at 12am, not sure whether to put more clothes on or take them off. I had very little blanket space (imagine 4 people squeezed into a queen sized bedspace, hundreds of bodies lay side by side packed like sardine scity). The floor was hard and the pillow represented little more than a small wheat sack. For a side sleeper like me, I couldnt' move or get myself comfortable enough to all asleep. Compounded by the fact that stereo sound snoring was all around me. When we all realized the 4 of us couldn't sleep, we decided to head to the summit earlier. Outside the hut, the air was all of a sudden refreshing, already an entire dragon line of torches were snaking their way as the path got more crowded with all the other station climbers, keen to be at the summit for the sunrise.
A picture speaks a thousand words, so let me just post them up to save the description of what laid before my eyes when the sun rose. It was one of the most spectacular sunrise I've ever seen.
It's been a while since I felt abit melancholic. I had this sudden urge to blog, and it's a feeling I haven't had for a long time. I wanted to feel sad, because I enjoy that feeling. It's romantic, this revelling in the inhumane hours of 3:30AM with nobody else but me, and the quiet world, clock tick and low hum from the laptop . Amazingly I am still wide awake. I am afraid of getting into my design work because I know of what I'm capable of doing. Sometimes I think I get so crazily passionate and happy into this whole photography business that I think it's to the point of unhealthy obession. I mean at least I'm not addicted to drugs or anything, being addicted to work is not a bad thing, unless it starts affecting your health. Strangely I would almost describe myself going through a 'manic' phrase, I guess I have been having something like this for the past couple of weeks.
My jaws feel clenched even in sleep and my body feels like it's running a constant temperature. But my mind races ahead and persists, efficient and getting so much done, beyond any basic necessity of sleep, drink or eating. I can forget about going to the toilet despite being busting, I can forget about water, or eating or sleeping or any desire to go out. Because I am so obsessed, and focussed on the task at hand. For the last 3-4 hours, I tossed and turned in bed and have not slept a wink. When the mind just refuses to shut down and it continuously thinks and performs at top performance, planning and planning. It's a very weird side of me. I don't remember the last time I went through this.
I got to thinking about life and memories. How different memories surface at different points depending on what sort of smell, or music, or an item that reminds us a fragment of the past. I got to thinking of the lives we led, and the choices that lead us down to the paths we have chosen, and the parallell universe that has a completely different life story if we were to go down a different branch point in. So many possibilities, so much that could have happened or could have never happened in that universe. Choices, a difficult dilema, as Aaron correctly pointed out, with choice, too many choice, too much freedom, one is presented with a reduction of happiness, because the mind wonders over and thinks of too many whatifs.
Dunno why. Feeling abit nostalgic tonight. Alittle mellow. As if life is going full speed ahead and taken me by the collar whether I am ready or not. I am alittle frightened. But this is just a random small moment.
I just watched the sunset over Obaiba bay, listening to Dido. A zen moment that I never expected in Tokyo. The air is moist and warm and the place is peacefully empty. Clouds drifted across the sky amazingly low. The waves in the ocean are fierce in the refreshing summer wind and 3 aeroplanes just took off into the distance. A man with a fishing rod and his dog just passed by, and now the orange colors are fading into the horizon.
I feel very calm and free, as if nothing can touch me, I am just content, happy. Time to head off to the onsen...going to indulge myself for a couple of hours.
I like travel, because no 2 days are the same. I like this mixture of solitude and togetherness with people you meet during your travels.
Travel my love, I have reignited my passion with you, yet again.
"NOW" is a gift, that's why they call it "THE PRESENT"
Travel life has the essence of a dream.
It is something outside the normal,
yet you are in it.
It is peopled with characters you have never seen before
and in all probability will never see again.
It brings occasional homesickness, and loneliness,
and pangs of longings...
But you are like the vikings who have gone into a world of adventure,
and home is not home until you return.
But home is where the heart is.
So where is home?
Dance like no one is watching
Love like you've never been hurt
Sing like no one's listening
Live like it's heaven on earth
Chocolate flows in deep dark, sweet waves, a river to ignite the mind and alert the senses...
Unexpected events in our daily lives are like different flavors that lie waiting beneath each chocolate cover.
Just like Forrest Gump explained:
"Life is like a box of chocolate, coz you never know what you're gonna get"