Not physically, but in the heart.
Truth be told, whether it comes across as believable or not, I enjoy buying things for people, as gifts. When I began travelling, or even when I wasn’t travelling, I would like to buy some stuff home, probably starting from the time when I got a job and earned a regular monthly salary. It feels good to be able to afford presents, big or small, for loved ones, friends or family. But over the years, probably experience has made me decide to stop doing it. When I was in Tokyo, since I had so much time and the city was abuzz with the thick festive spirit of Christmas, I was walking around the shops and malls with an intention to get gifts. It can be hard to buy gifts for people, especially if I hope that the gift will be something the recipient will like, can use, or something to that effect. Not everyone likes getting something that will invariably end up as a white elephant because it takes up space at home, and we all know how scarce space can get in our tiny little island state with tiny little apartments.
So far, perhaps only one or two of my friends belong to the category who you can get them almost anything, useful or not, and they will actually appreciate it, or at least I think they do. For others, I really don’t know. Where family is concerned, it is pretty obvious, because we all live under the same roof, most of us anyway, so it is clear whether something ends up being a white elephant or not. So I thought for them, it is always wiser to get edible stuff. We don’t know what each person’s taste is like in terms of fashion and accessories, or toiletry products or the like, which could easily be bought locally though, albeit at a different price perhaps. I’m not that discerning when it comes to buying clothes for other people so I try not to.
So usually when I travel, I would buy locally-made food products. I have chocolates from most of the cities that I visit in the course of my work or vacation, but most of them remain in the fridge, tucked away in a corner where they were kept, because nobody at home enjoys chocolate the way I do. Even I am not such a huge fan, if not they won’t still be there today. Some of these chocolates are actually way past their expiry dates, but I am one for believing that chocolates are ok to be eaten past their “Best Before” dates because they are in the fridge, and “Best Before” doesn’t mean they can’t be consumed after that; besides, I have taken many of those and have not had anything happen to me, yet. Fingers crossed. Perhaps the reason I buy chocolates most of the times is also because they keep better, and longer, as compared to other things, such as biscuits or cake-like confectionery that tend to last at most a couple of months.
So back to the Tokyo trip. I really loved walking around the basement food halls of the large shopping malls, because there is such a wide variety of interesting and delicious-looking confectionery. They actually have a lot of famous European brands of sweets and delicacies on sale, but I thought since I am in Japan I should get Japanese stuff, so I ended up getting a box of red-bean pancakes in a modified look, and some love-letters and biscuits that came with Christmas packaging.
I wasn’t sure if they are famous brands but I do see locals buying from them, and I sampled them too and thought they weren’t too bad, so I decided to get them for the home.
Maybe it was a mistake. Or shall I say it was a big mistake.
This box of dorayaki, which came with some big round ones and more small longish ones, I just threw it away yesterday, with perhaps half still intact. I don’t know how much of the box I ate, but my mum commented that they were too sweet. That was her only remark. Nothing else.
And this brand is called Yoku Moku; the loveletters are really thin and crispy and I thought the packaging was so apt and cute. Besides in this package, they are in small quantities, just ten pieces each of the loveletter, and ten pieces of chocolate-coated biscuit, which are also fairly small and thin.
I finished almost all of the loveletters, and half of the biscuits are still in the fridge, with the other five in my stomach, or already being digested to somewhere. I don’t know how long the other five will stay in the fridge, perhaps until such time when my mum decides that there are too many things in the fridge and she will start throwing things away, or when I get frustrated about everything and just dump everything down the chute.
I know I can’t expect people at home to say “Thank you” when I buy something home for them (well, my dad never say a word of “Thanks” even when each alternate trip I make, I buy him a bottle of Martell and three cans of stout from Duty Free), especially when in such cases, they don’t even really eat what I get home. But it does tell me to stop trying because nobody appreciates it. I even get chided for buying too much snacks (for myself) that are piled in a corner on the table, which take up space because I don’t consume them fast enough. Sometimes, I really get so tired living with the family. True, it is a blessing to be able to live with family but day by day it just gets so hard. I try my best to be nice, and nobody cares, they only rant, within my earshot, that I am using too much of this and that, that I am taking up too much space with my clothes and bags, and I do try sometimes to do housekeeping to clear things that are probably not needed anymore, but which female doesn’t have a lot of things, clothes, accessories, shoes or otherwise? Do they expect me to live like a guy and survive on five work shirts and only shop during Chinese New Year for new clothes? Even men these days can own more clothes than a female, hello?
Singapore’s climate also isn’t the most conducive for doing housekeeping, especially not in my home where there is no air-conditioning and half the time it just feels like a furnace where I can’t do anything without feeling like I have just been in a sauna of sorts. I am just so tired of everything, so sick and tired of everything that I just feel like quitting this whole game altogether.