30 november

by rachel

on my to-do list – to finish my anthropology final essay, to write a new piece for teeth. it’s kind of hard to admit to myself that i haven’t written in so long, i begin to wonder if the reason i don’t feel like myself some days is because i haven’t created anything in so long after having had to do so for so many years.

i’m unsure what the reason is – am i just too scared? it’s hardly that i feel like there is nothing i need to process. i stand in the shower and think about the days that have passed me by – i think about returning from thanksgiving break and finding the intensity of american accents around me overwhelming (or surprising). after nearly ten days of resting in a slice of home i realize my tongue is no longer as adept at adapting; the ginger steamed cod, the ground beef and eggs, hainanese chicken rice (because primataste packs still count right??), rice and rice and rice.

i recall mentally laughing as five ethnically white friends of mine sat around in the common room asking each other “do i have an accent? do i” (“hmm… nah nah i don’t think you do” “maybe a little?”)

i read an essay in a singaporean magazine about race in singapore and muse over the graphic at the end of the piece. it mimics a child’s crayon drawings with check-boxes stating “jiak kentang”, “neighbourhood school one”, “elite school one”, “got accent” – i am wary about what i reveal about my thoughts but in both spaces i still check the “got accent” box, no?

but this is home now isn’t it? this is home – the sun that sets at 4.23 pm, off-beat alarms taking turns to pester their owners in odd intervals between 8 am and 9 am, waking up briefly to smile at your roommate before tumbling back into the half-formed dream (that makes both of us), early morning dining hall conversations where a friend asks if you still feel the same way about your friendships here as you did a few months ago (that so many were fleeting, tottering).

this is home that i am trying to build, over dinner time conversations with a friend where we laugh over the distant reality of protective parents, in the moments where i struggle to be fiercely myself, truthfully myself (a difficult task when you recognise that there are so many aspects of yourself that you are still discovering), through the twice-weekly breakfasts with familiar faces that keep my sleep covered eyes battling their way to math class if only for the sweet promise of homely conversation that follows.

i still write too long sentences, i’m still struggling to figure out the things i care about, there are still days where i don’t feel good enough, that i don’t feel like i’m the person i want to be (will i ever really). but today i wake up after an evening spent figuring out a new song on off-tune pianos, after an evening spent running, after an evening spent marvelling at a beautifully written introduction to an essay, today, i’m okay, today i will appreciate that.

 

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