2013 was a pretty significant year, for one, I turned 21, and for another it's the first whole year I'm back studying. I still do miss the relatively more carefree times of my gap year, but I am glad to be able to enjoy student discounts again :D
There are many people I've met this year. Some become friends, some I'll never see again. Good conversations, interesting thoughts and exchange of ideas. Many a times, just fleeting acquaintances, a few great hours spent together. No photos, no records of having met those people. And as time passes, memories fade. But I will always be thankful for that little bit of contact, for having known that person, even if just for that brief moment in time.
“. . .sometimes one feels freer speaking to a stranger than to people one knows. Why is that?"“Probably because a stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.” ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
Strangers aside, I'm particularly thankful for Fisher House, the Catholic chaplaincy in Cambridge. It's not particularly a thing I looked out for when applying to universities, but I am now immensely glad I got into Cambridge where there's an awesome Catholic student community. With weekly talks during term time, a comfortable library and the chaplaincy right smack in the city centre, it makes going to church second nature and undoubtedly has had a positive impact on my spiritual life.
Firsts: pierced ears; planned a road trip (to the Lake District); witnessed someone falling while trad-climbing; climbed Mt Kilimanjaro; traveled a fraction of the continent of Africa and Europe; did soup runs for the homeless with the St Vincent de Paul society in Fisher House; became an altar server; went for a bouldering competition in London; pulled an all-nighter for academic reasons.
Watched a couple of interesting films: Project Wild Thing, iloilo, Martha of the North, Project Nim.
Listened to lots of talks. Didn't watch that much TV.
|Image taken from: http://www.mactoons.com/do-what-you-love-and-do-it-often/|
Isle of Arran, Scotland; Pembrokeshire coast, Wales; Brighton, Surrey and Lake District, England, United Kingdom
|Wast Water lake on the way up Scafell Pike, Lake District|
Arusha, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
|Sunrise on the way up Mt Kilimanjaro|
Johannesburg, Greater Kruger, Sodwana Bay, South Africa
|Sunrise as a baby elephant wanders along the river Olifants at Struwig Eco-Reserve|
Berlin, Heidelberg, Nuremberg, Munich, Germany
|The Nazi party grounds near sunset, Nuremberg|
Salzburg, Innsbruck, Vienna, St Pölten, Austria
|Inn river, Innsbruck|
Zurich, Lucerne, Thun, Bern, Switzerland
|Lake Luzern at sunset|
(just arrived, no photos)
I've been mostly happy and contented, no reason to be otherwise, really. I'm so blessed it would be ungrateful to still be unsatisfied. My family is healthy and happy, I've got a roof over my head, decent grades, enough to eat, drink and wear, and people to talk to (I think!). Occasionally homesick, of course, but overall, compared to many others, I really can't complain.
|Balule Game Reserve, South Africa.|
On the whole, 2013 has been an interesting year, one that flew past very very quickly, one with many experiences and memories that would probably stay with me for a long time. I realised this year (well not for the first time, but perhaps more strongly than usual), that I am really just one of many in this big, big world we live in. That I'm nothing special, though I guess we are all special in God's (and our parents') eyes. Especially when I meet people who are talented in music, arts, sports, cooking, writing etc, or intelligent, witty and good at making conversation. Then I realise that probably, the reason why I'm doing science is because I can't really do anything else :P I just need to study and memorise. Cos I'm not particularly inquisitive either, not gonna do ground-breaking research or discover some hitherto-unknown, nobel-prize-worthy thing. Though of course, we're not all meant to do great things, and I am happy just the way I am (:
And if you haven't already realised, I like water and mountains, preferably sea water, though the photos in this post are all of fresh water. So in 2014, I do want to do more climbing and diving, be more focused and disciplined, pick up a few new skills hopefully, and
|"And he said, Someday I hope you get the chance/ To live like you were dying/ Like tomorrow was a gift/ And you got eternity to think about what to do with it/ What did you do with it?/ What did I do with it?/ What would I do with it?"|