a reason to start over new

Home to humid and hot Singapore! We Singaporeans never stop complaining, and one of the things we love to grouse about the most (at least for me) is how bad our weather is. A lot of people I met often tell me how beautiful the weather is in Singapore, but I guess that’s coming from people who have weather in their own countries that are usually too cold to walk about outside without wearing at least 2 layers. Most of them are in countries where summer is just perhaps two or so months out of the twelve, and often times they are only in Singapore for a short stay to truly understand that pain of day-to-day living in such climatic conditions. But oh well I am sure there are places that are worse off, but when you go somewhere and enjoy nice cool weather and return to the muggy air here, I can only complain as I wipe off perspiration that forms on my forehead.

Last Friday ended a little early since it was the last day and the colleagues were heading off that evening. We encountered congestion on the autobahn along the way and I was wondering if they were so worried about not making their flights that they would throw me out of the car instead of giving me a ride. Well, thankfully they didn’t do that, and I assumed they made it to their respective flights.

When the sun made its very slow descent, while it was still dusk and shadows started to grow longer, the atmosphere became so much cooler. Zurich was seeing some really extreme weather conditions too, in terms of fluctuations in temperatures. The lowest I experienced while I was there might have been 10 deg Celsius, and the highest was above 30. With the dryness in the air, somehow the sun beams that bore down on my skin seemed to burn more, so I think I might have grown a few shades darker after being out in the sun so much over the weekend.

It was a little cold that Friday night, and I was really tired because this second week, work was a little more intense so we worked later, meaning I had much lesser sleep, also since I tend to wake up early in the mornings. But I stayed out late in the city anyhow, way past sunset that usually happens at about 930pm or 10pm. Then I was trying to catch the last train that goes back to my hotel area, but I had to stop along the bridge to the Zurich HB station and take a photo. No matter how bad the resolution of this picture is or how it does not even capture 1% of the beauty of the scene I still love what I saw and hope I can share it via this sole take that I have.

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I have seen some postcards on sale with the view of the city, its rivers and bridges, in various settings, but the most breathtaking ones being the city bathed in the amber glow of the setting sun. Unfortunately I hadn’t a chance for any such picture, but the night scene comes a close second for me. Zurich is a beautiful place, albeit extremely expensive, and the most pricey city I have been to thus far! But the conditions of me being here this time probably marred whatever enjoyment I could get from admiring the scenery and seeing the Alps as I went for that one-time jog.

So the flight back home was a full flight and again I couldn’t manage a wink of sleep. Somehow the person sitting behind wasn’t sleeping and I wonder if he might have been on an overdose of steroids because each action he took was done with so much force, like getting something out of the seat pocket, stowing the tray table, typing on his laptop… each move made my seat jolt so much I wasn’t able to even begin to fall asleep. So when I got home at 7am this morning, I was awake for about 20 hours, with interrupted 5- or 6-hour slumbers the past few nights. After unpacking and taking a much-needed shower, I crashed into bed and slept for about 5 hours. That’s the kind of naps that I take.

i’ve got my heart set on anywhere but here

My giant curry puff.

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Food and everything else is so expensive in Switzerland. I think especially so in Zurich maybe, or at least that was what I was told. No, this isn’t a curry puff, it’s a calzone that I had last week, and also today at lunch. It’s pretty heavy to have something like this for lunch not just because it is really ginormous (if you would just compare the size of the regular-sized cutlery placed next to it), but also because it’s filled with so much mozzarella cheese and ingredients I think I almost choked on it. But it was good. Maybe not the best calzone I had but still good. I preferred the version I had last week though, which was more tomato-based and not oozing with cheese like today’s. I have been eating way too much here, and exercising too little. Aside from cllimbing the stairs to the second-level office each day, I can’t even think of what other exercise I do. Maybe exercising my mouth, talking to people and also eating. The office here scores on hospitality; almost on a daily basis they will stock our room with coffee and cookies. So… you can just imagine the carbo-overload. Oh well, carbo is supposed to be happy food and we really needed that for these 2 weeks.

Last night, a major storm passed the office. While we sat in the office at one end of the building the rest of the office and corridors were dark from the overcast sky outside. It rained so heavily and the winds were so strong that it reminded me of typhoon in Tokyo years ago. Thankfully it didn’t last long, after maybe about 30 to 45 minutes it slowed to a drizzle so we were able to get to the car to drive back to the hotel. Weather these couple of days has been much nicer, if only the weather was as cool then I would have had a nicer time. I am not really enjoying this trip as much as what perhaps most would think. It’s been a difficult 2 weeks and since last week I have been nursing a suspected-TMJ that is making me wince each time I move my jaw, sometimes even while swallowing saliva. I hope there is some cure for this when I get back.

Not looking forward to the humidity and heat that everyone is lamenting about online, but at least I can get back into my so-called fitness regime. I miss yoga practice and also sweating it out at the gym! That is probably the first anyone has ever heard of me complaining about not being able to sweat. I will qualify that the only time I want to perspire is when I am exercising, i.e. meant to sweat it out.

i need to get my story straight

When I went out on Sunday night I brought along the 3GS to accompany me on the jog. I don’t really enjoy jogging per se, so I try to distract myself with music. I’m still trying to figure out which will be the best solution where music files are concerned because I am trying to retire the old iPhone but the capacity on the 4S is veering dangerously low.

So anyhow, here are a couple of snapshots taken at about 845pm. I was seriously blown away by what I saw that I think I forgot to continue running.

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There are some things that I appreciate about the trips that I make for work purposes, and they do help to make the situation a little better sometimes. But yet there are still many things that aren’t made better no matter what. Too many frustrations that just don’t go away and which are beyond my control to make better.

sometimes i wake up by the door

Things are incredibly expensive in Zurich. I never knew this to be such a costly place because I have heard so much about expensive cities like Tokyo, New York, maybe even Paris or Milan but nothing beats Zurich so far.

Most would know how I easily succumb to commercialism because usually when I spy the familiar green Starbucks logo I will pop in to check it out and of course simultaneously grab a coffee. So I have been comparing the cost of living in different cities by how much a Starbucks tall latte costs and by far, Zurich ranks at the top. I can only say this as far as the places that I have visited and bought a Starbucks coffee. Milan doesn’t have any Starbucks at all, neither do I think there was any in the places I went to in Netherlands but at these places, coffee didn’t cost that much either.

But well I did buy something when I went out over the weekend. I have three additional pairs of shoes to bring back home but where shoes are concerned I am always erring on the side of caution. I bought flats since they are so comfortable to wear and I think they provide a good alternative to flip-flops on weekends. I considered buying more shoes because here is where I can find shoes in my size easily (yay to females with equally big feet like I do) but I thought of the cost, and the need to bring them back, and especially the need to be rational and not just buy blindly and ecstatically just because I finally found shoes of my size and not think about them being all the same models. So now, I really want to own a pair of brogues. I haven’t really tried them and don’t know how they’ll look on feet of my kind of size but I thought they have a certain quirkiness to them that I would like to try. Stilettoes and all those sky-high pumps (think Louboutins) look really great but I don’t think now my knees and my sense of balance can take it, especially when I tend to need to walk a lot… so these will just be on the ogle-list but not on my to-buy list. For now at least, unless someone wants to volunteer to drive me around all the time!

i really thought i was just fine

The last few posts have been nothing short of wordy. I just keep talking over and over again. Haha. But really, it’s not that I don’t want to share photos but most of those were uploaded onto Facebook over the weekend, albeit with some difficult because the wifi connection seems to be really slow and it’s not even free! I just happened to have a voucher that was passed to me from my colleague who went home over the weekend. Other than that, I don’t want to try uploading photos using the limited data that I have from the prepaid SIM that I got.

Anyway, from last weekend when I arrived to a cold and rainy Zurich, the weather just got worse and it rained heaps during the week, then it started clearing up towards the later part of the week. By the time weekend came, the weather was scorching at best. It was so warm and sunny on Saturday that my plans to shop in the city had to be shelved. I can’t shop when it’s so warm and in Europe, air-conditioning seems to be something uncommon. Sunday got a little better despite it still being warm but maybe with less people around since shops were all closed, it didn’t feel as bad. Or it was because I didn’t stay out that long and sought refuge in the hotel, doing my Japanese homework and revising for my upcoming Korean test whilst waiting for the sun to make its slow descent beyond the horizon. That, I give myself a pat on the shoulder for.

Well it was 830pm when I decided to head out for a jog since there is no gym in the hotel and although they supposedly have some tie-up with some ‘nearby’ fitness facility, it costs 20 CHF per entry. What.the.hell. Things in Switzerland, or Zurich at least, are unbelievably expensive I can’t imagine how much people would have to earn to keep up with the extremely high costs of living here. I saw some really beautiful scenery while I was trying to jog, maybe unsuccessfully, because I kept getting distracted by the wonderful views that greeted me as I made my way towards a farm that had the setting sun in the background. I concluded that I can’t really run outside because I’m not used to it and I’ve not really done it much recently so it was so tough and my lungs just burned.

Anyway even when I returned to the hotel it was still not dark. I think the sun only really set close to 10pm or later. Long summer days are probably a great idea for those who want to make full use of daylight hours but for me it’s not such a great idea. Sunrise is typically at about 530am? Last week I kept waking up because even with the curtains drawn I can’t keep out all the light. Besides I can’t seem to sleep through the night anymore these days. I think I’m doing a little better with the sleep now though. I have a bit more problem waking up in the mornings now. Haha.

there’s a song playing on the radio

Yesterday I read an article online that was headlined, “7 ways that make the day better” or something like that, which is available on Realbuzz or rather the yahoo link that I got it from.

1. Wake up a few minutes earlier.

2. Make a happy list.

3. Sniff a lemon.

4. Cuddle someone.

5. Sweat it out.

6. Have a bath.

7. Prioritise your tasks. 

Just seven but not easy to accomplish. For one, there is no bathtub for me to take a bath in. There is no gym in the hotel and it’s raining outside for most parts of the last few days so running outside is not feasible. Do other fruits provide a good substitute for the smell of lemon? So who wants to be there to let me cuddle, and what doable happy list is possible? Looks like I am only capable of 1 and 7. Le sigh.

lights will guide me home

This is probably a beautiful city. The circumstances just make it otherwise.

The rain finally eased up, maybe sometime during the night while I tried to engage in slumber. I managed, but not without constant awakening due to whatsoever reasons unbeknownst to me. It’s different from the last time when I travelled westward to Milan earlier this year and due to the jetlag I slept relatively well and long. It could also be due to the fact that I was under the weather then.

Today is forecasted to still have some light rain, hopefully not like yesterday. It didn’t let up at all the whole of Tuesday so this morning even though it was dry the air was so chilly.