what i’ve done in the 8 months or so in my “second gap year” : a Report

note: i can't believe i didn't publish this in 2018 lololol. i decided to not edit it (thus the present tense). well i went to Singapore and Indonesia after this post and read a few more books. that's about it.

It’s been 259 days since I came home from almost a year of being more than 10000km away, submerged in a completely different climate, culture, and language.

I was asked multiple times since: “Are you working or studying?”

I answered: “Neither.”

So from the persona I portray on social medias, people assume that I’m doing nothing, aka wasting my time and squandering my dad’s money (uh yes, I’m kinda a spoiled brat) and just having fun. Some people also thought that I stopped studying to travel (that’s a great idea actually except my wanderlust isn’t that big).

Well, I’m not trying to prove you wrong but I’m gonna remind myself about what I’ve actually done; this is a self-reflection and welcome to part of my world.


I have visited four Malaysian cities: Penang, Kampar, Ipoh, Malacca; and four countries: Australia, Japan, China, Hong Kong. I wasn’t home for approximately 43 days. Don’t ask me for my favourite city/country.

I met some very cool and nice people from everywhere in the world, and managed to engage in deep conversations with several of them. In contrast, there are Malaysians with whom I could not get over an exchange of formalities, even if we’ve known each other for ages.

I am trying to run a business to help people save time deciding what to wear, and mostly am broke because of this. It’s not really working because I made it hard to even decide what to buy. Well, I gotta learn. And I’m getting help. So wish me luck. And also please like the page on Facebook and follow it on Instagram, that would be much much much appreciated and thanks in advance! Oh yeah, my friends get a special discount code; ask and you shall receive.

I read 26 books (and actively reading two books) and also a bunch of articles. Mostly about philosophy and business, stuff completely unrelated to what I would be studying because why not.

I kinda learnt to read Hiragana and Katakana, two of the Japanese scripts. I’m determined to learn the language but…nah…I’m lazy. The same thing happened with French although with French, the pronunciation is still screwing me up.

I sent way too many postcards and festival cards that I think I can write a pretty accurate review of postal services of the countries I’ve been to. I definitely have enough knowledge of the postal products to work at a Malaysian post office.

I missed seven birthday bashes and am about to miss an eighth one…I am forever sorry.

I was briefly obsessed with rhythmic gymnastics and spent four full days camping at the stadium and then randomly getting an invitation to attend the gala dinner. Oh it was fun and disastrous.

I got a tattoo.

I spent a lot of time with my dad and my grandmother, and I think that’s something I will cherish in the future. My brother? He doesn’t want to spend time with me. But he said that he would buy me a PS4 controller and a game I want so I can play. Yay.

I started going to mental health therapy. I’m still not comfortable to disclose the details openly but I might tell you about it privately.

I watched a lot of films and TV and I also read about good films and good TV so I know what a good motion picture should be like but unfortunately most of what is on a screen is crap.

I somehow still manage to German. I’m super glad that I met (a lot of) Germans in Australia.

I gained a better appreciation for art, whether in the form of words, audios, visuals, and whatever.

I lost about 5kg. I’m not entirely sure how that happened and also I’m feeling more positive about my body image. Also, never ever call someone fat, you don’t know the full story.

I got an invitation to do the entrance exam at my dream university in Switzerland but ultimately had to decline it because…I don’t want to say. The university was the main reason why I acquired the German language. It’s a tough decision emotionally to let go of this dream, but oh, #life.

I learnt to make peace with the fact that, no matter how close two persons were; either platonically or romantically; things can change and it only requires the decisions of one side to make that change and unfortunately I am most of the time on the receiving end.

I kept in touch (or tried to keep in touch) with friends who are in about eight different time zones. The worst difference I’ve ever experienced was 17 hours…damn. Time zone differences is very weird but the best thing is always having someone to talk to no matter what time it is. It’s also amazing how I talk more to some friends who are hundreds of nautical miles away than some friends who stay a few minutes away in the same city.

I befriended a person who shares the same surname as me! She’s the first person I know with that surname who isn’t family (our surname, 管 , is very rare). How cool right!!!

I cold-emailed and cold-tweeted at people I find interesting, normally with no response, so I might be better at dealing at rejections now, however…

I shared a brief correspondence with some people in Hollywood.

I was rejected by the school in Germany where I’ll be studying in and spent two weeks in Japan checking my email inbox every day for a reply from my appeal. 12 hours after landing home from Tokyo, I got accepted after making a 10 minutes phone call. I wish I could give credit to my persuading skills but the truth is, they misconverted my grades before.

I started this blog.


I could not be happier to say that I’m going to Germany next month to start the next chapter of my life; the past two years were definitely wonderful interludes.

Thursday. why is Malaysia cold

seriously, ive caught a cold

WATCHED

empathy vs sympathy. was talking about it with a friend two weeks ago and she asked me to explain the difference and i couldn’t do it well . now i guess i could

READ

20 coding projects in 20 days. wow i’d never be able to do this cos i can’t just do one thing a day

apparently there are safety guidelines when on an escalator. i fell on an escalator before when running up and it left scars on both my knees. it’s dangerous

what an inspiring story about a runner mother. wow. wow. wow.

about computational science, which is related to my current degree. [Wikipedia]

about computational engineering, which about completes the description of my degree. really exciting. [Wikipedia]

SKIMMED

tips on how to set up a Mac for coding. uhhhhhhhhhhh

Tuesday. Malaysia.

i now have to watch with crutches but that is okay and i have a feeling that my progress is gggreeeeaaattttt. ahh crap, felt the same too after my arm surgery and then i got my hopes up too high and zzz it was horrible afterwards

READ

why we should pay in local currencies when given the choice

cross the world four times. somehow i feel that im at the emotional stage of having crossed the world three times but in reality i doubt ive even crossed the world even one time now

some ways to find stillness. what a post that i badly need, just in time

(kinda) done with the second semester

academics-wise, i’m officially done with semester 2, three days earlier than expected because some bad decisions in the past weeks led me to unregister from the last exam due to lack of preparation. and i don’t want to just “try to pass” in a subject that would be important to me in the future.

now for some reflections.

the semester started shaky as i further try to navigate the life as a student and trying to recover from a horrible first semester. i made plans. i was executing them. things were going good. and then of course, life would come fuck you up. i broke my dominant arm and a knee ligament, while playing badminton indoors. things pretty much just went downhill after that. although i was just physically incapable to go to classes for 1.5 weeks, the mental aftermath that i had to endure afterwards rendered me useless for more than half of the semester. i had to learn to use my left hand, which has gotten smarter but also still dumb at times; i still eat solely with my left hand but do most other things with my right hand, though it tires easily. i couldn’t go to classes because of the mental distress and i hated writing with my left hand after a while. i was betrayed and backstabbed badly while in the midst of this mess. i thought i couldn’t trust anyone anymore(not true), and i wouldn’t talk to my family (my poor poor dad). i literally faced all kinds of problems that a human could possibly face in a lifetime, other than financially, all at the same time. who wouldn’t slip into a depression like that? my routine started including going to physiotherapy, regular checkups at the hospital, going to the doctors, counselling, and group therapies. officially, i am engaged actively at two institutions for my physical health, and four institutions to maintain my sanity (i still went berserk sometimes, sorry for people who had to deal with it), and i went to my general practitioner often enough to realise that the first one sucked so i started going to a second one. this was rock bottom.

thus i started a battle with depression and anxiety. i still wouldn’t say that i conquered it but at least it has gotten better cos everything seems to be okay again. it begun with me starting a job at a university institute as a student assistant and in the same week i won a scholarship (that’s why i don’t have a financial problem xD). i really am happy at the job, it’s great to feel appreciated when you put in effort to do something. though i did (unsurprisingly) fail the first exam in the semester, the others that i sat for seemed to go quite well. and it really boosted my self-confidence.

there are of course some other things that happened that im still not comfortable to discuss in the open. what i really want to say is, i really am grateful for the people who stuck around and who believed in me (even when i was having serious doubts about myself) and gave me all the support to help me go through this. i now know who my true friends are, it’s still hard for me to cut off the toxic ones but for the sake of those of you who really care about me, i will.  shoutout to the all of you, mostly people who have known me for less than a year and people who might not understand me and my actions all the time because of cultural differences or otherwise but still chose to stay in my life. not to say that i don’t appreciate my old friends back at home and people in other parts of the world whom ive known longer, but we aren’t in the vicinity of each other and i now realise that it does make a difference. i still love you all, that’s for sure.

and i love all of you and i will try my best to regain full health (physically, mentally, and emotionally) as soon as possible and be the best person i could possibly be. i hope that you would still be there.

Thursday. Aachen. It’s getting cold

really wanna do more reading 😦 

READ

so my German has gone bad lately so i read an article in German about this missing Irish girl who was found dead in Malaysia. been obsessed with this case and feeling very sad about it. RIP Nora.

SKIMMED

10 things to do to be super successful. erm okay.

i suspect that my deteriorated language skills lately has something to do with my injured right arm which hasn’t been fully functional for more than 3 months now. 

7 things people should do while being in college (university in most other places in the world). hmmmm would still have to do no2, 5, and 6.