Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Venice and Trains

Hi Guys, 

sorry for the lag. If you're following me on instagram, I am now in Germany but I have so many things to say from my past locations hence the late post! Travelling and blogging isn't the easiest thing because sometimes you get so lazy by the time you get back home and all you want to do is soak in a tub with lavenders and listen to Agnes Obel and exfoliate... not open your laptop and type. But thats what I'm doing today because I don't have a tub right now, and coincidentally I also ran out of bath bombs. 

anyway lets talk about the train ride from Florence to Venice. Ok, scrape that. Lets talk about Trains. I love trains, especially high speed trains. They make my ears go fuzzy when it travels, and I LOVE that. I learnt a few things whilst travelling around Italy by train (Rome --> Florence --> Bologna--> Venice) so I will share it in hopes that it might benefit someone reading! :) 

"How do I pre-buy my tickets? Do I need to pre buy my tickets? omg?? help??" 

These were the questions I got really stressed up about before I left for Italy. I get stressed very easily btw, like omg I haven't done this, why haven't I heard from this person, is it going to rain, oh shit my period is here etc etc etc. But anyway, I decided that I'll just deal with the tickets when I got there. So lets say you just got to Rome and you want to go to Venice next week, get your tickets from Termini Station (Rome) at least one day in advance. You can even get tickets on the day itself but it depends on what time you want to reach your destination. Tickets get sold out pretty quickly. But take note that these are for trains that goes out of the city only.

"Everyone is asking me if I need help!" 

Its true. I've never heard so many people ask me if I needed help in a day. Do I always look perpetually lost? But no, if random people come up to you and say "hi do you need help locating your train", first check if they have a station id tag, if not...even if you do need help, just kindly say no and move on. No one told me about this! The first time this happened to me was in Rome, I wanted to buy my tickets to Florence and I was observing how people bought tickets when suddenly this hippie girl with dreadlocks and all jumped in front of me and said "hey there! where are you going? do you know how to buy your tickets?" and I was like "errrr no." but my guard was down because I saw a lot of girls helping people buy their tickets so I thought in Italy its cool to wear your own clothes to work just as long as you wear a tag. So I let her lead me to a ticket booth and she punched in the numbers and proceeded to help me buy my tickets. But then after that she asked me to pay her a Service Fee. Like...what? And she was really taunty about it when I kept declining. 

The second time it happened to me was when I was looking for my train. Honestly, there are so many trains and they have so many destinations, I couldn't find my train. This plump lady with a weird accent approached me again to offer help, but my guard was up now. I told her no its ok, but she offered very kindly to point me in the right direction, so I thought...oh maybe she's a kind person who's just being helpful. But nooooo, she kept following me around and asking me for service money. Thankfully a (hot) italian officer came by to ask if she was bothering me and told her sternly to leave me alone. He then proceeded to say in his thick and crisp italian accent when the wind was blowing his curly brown hair and that moment felt like a movie where he saves the damsel in distress and I am about to faint and he says... "for your own safety, please don't talk to anyone who doesn't have this id staff tag. for your own safety ok?" and he winked at me and smiled and my heart stopped. And he never sees the damsel in distress again because she leaves for another city. The end.

Here are some Venice photos, I shall leave you to enjoy the scenic beauty of Venezia (and occasional photos of me being weird).

I'll talk to you soon!  Be safe when you take trains!! And talk to hot police officers and cute birds on the street!! And have a nice day!! Guten tag! x

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

old things and being burnt

I love love love old things. Like...REALLY old things. So when I was at the Foro Romano (roman forum) questions that ran through my mind would be like :

1) what happened here.
2) what did people do here.
3) who touched/built this exact spot.

I don't have all the answers, but I bought books at the museum because I really want thorough answers, I'll let you know when I have the answers. 

but anyway can you imagine, many many many many years ago when these structures and buildings were built, they used to be completely functional home towns, and entertainment for people like you and me...and now they're all broken. If walls have ears (or eyes), can you imagine if I plugged in a thumb drive into the crack of the wall and transfer all that it has seen and heard all these many years...what kind of things would I hear and see. I am imagining EVERYTHING! Maybe I'll see someone being stabbed to death with a fork, or maybe I'll overhear love being spoken in a different language. i mean, lets imagine this together...what would have the wall seen or heard? If the wall is a hard disk, it would have stored so much memories and stories and this is completely fascinating to me.

These were built by people so many years ago, whilst they were building this...did they think or expect that many years later, a completely random 25 year old asian girl from Singapore would come by Rome and touch (and occasionally hug) these exact walls that they've built? This is why sometimes I like to speak to old walls, you know, like in Interstellar...the scene where the father was behind the library in another dimension. I would go up to these old walls and speak to them in a small whisper "hello....??.......... are you there??.... tell me what to do......... I will do it. What?? move right?? you want me to move right? Im blocking someone taking a photo? oh okok *moves right* hello...?........ are you still there??" 

In Between Two Walls. "tell me what to do.....helloo????" 

Behind the scenes of embroidering the Foro Romano. 

This piece was fun. 

I mean, all my pieces are fun, but for this piece I had such a comfortable "table" overlooking this magnificent view with a nice cool wind carrying the scent of a ripe banana blowing occasionally. Whilst working on this piece, I imagined that this place was restored to its former glory and I was a servant girl looking out of her window. I saw children running around laughing, I saw men pulling their cows and bulls. I saw a former Rome and I imagined so many stories of people who used to live and hang out here in the past. An example of a short story I would think of : My servant girl name is Selena and as I'm looking out of the window I see my master casually walking and talking with a smart man next to him. He looks up at me and waves. We are secretly in love. I have his baby, and the town people found out about this and burned me to death. The end

And before I knew it, I was already done with my piece! 

and now I can take this piece of Rome back with me. :D 

How are you? I hope all is well with you from whatever time and space you are reading this from, even if you're reading this from inside a wall. But remember, whatever you're going through...at least you're not like Selena, being burned to death for having a baby with her Master. And speaking of burning, I'm completely burnt from the sun in Italy, and prior to writing this, I set the bath running with a nice golden glitter bath bomb so before I get into trouble for allowing the water to overflow, I should go check on the bath now.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Vatican and Tiramisu.

Hi, or here we say Ciao! 

Ciao Minna San! 

I absolutely love rome, but you already know that by now. I'm completely fascinated by history and the past, so its not a surprise that Rome should intrigue me so much. But anyway, right now as I am writing this, there is a fight happening outside my apartment...there are a lot of people jeering and cheering, I'm not even sure what it is about but they've blocked the entire path so theres no way I want to push through everyone. Initially the plan was to get my book and head out to a nice cafe and have gelato and cakes, but now theres the fight so I headed back to my apartment...which isn't too bad really, but the water pipe in the toilet is emitting a foul smell and as a result...it is making me feel extremely disoriented. 

Today I saw lots of things. But lets start with the Vatican City.

I walked a long distance from my apartment to the Vatican City. I could have taken the train, but walking seemed more desirable at the point of time because it was such a beautiful day. I've almost got knocked down two times in the course of this walk because I can't seem to remember that the traffic flow is in the opposite direction compared to home. And I had this strange thought, that if I were to die near the Vatican City would my soul go through an express lane, since yknow...I'm so near the holy city. 

Ok so now imagine this with me: The sun is scorching, and you've walked a long long long way and you've finally reached the Vatican City and you see a long long long queue of people and you decide to join the queue because, thats what Singaporeans do, if theres a queue, it must be good!...and its so hot (you've forgotten to put sun block today) but you wait in line anyway and when its finally your turn *oh thank god*, you get denied entry because BECAUSE!!!...you have 5 pairs of scissors in your bag. 


And its either you give up your scissors, or turn away...and I turned away. T_T There wasn't any way I would give up all my scissors, do you know how hard it is to find a pair of scissors here in Italy. But anyway I walked around the vatican city and soaked up some holiness before heading to a nearby cafe to sit down. Heres some of my thoughts and observations from the cafe sitting:


1) The priest is smoking. Is smoking a sin? If it is because of the fact that "we are harming our bodies" then, eating processed food is also a sin. 

2) A pregnant beggar comes up to me asking for money and food. She holds up a cup with a picture of mother mary inside. I feel nothing, am I supposed to? But I look around as she approached the next table, they don't seem to feel anything too. A police officer chases her away, just like how he chased the pigeons and laughed. 

3) A group of tourists from china throws pizza crumbs and attracted a whole city of pigeons. And good lord, they stood in the middle of this body of pigeons flapping around just to take a photo. That is completely disgusting, just...just putting it out there. One of the men holds out his hand in attempt to lure a pigeon to sit on his hand, is he going to break out into song alla Cinderalla style? I can't watch. 

4) As I work on my embroidery, a group of Americans sat next to me. They are assuming that I do not understand english because they are talking about me. The lady is saying to the man "she's doing it completely wrong, she's not supposed to tie the knot on the thread like that". I do not look up because I might scowl. 

5) A group of men sat behind me. They're french, how beautiful is the language. His eyes, they're beautiful too. He winks at me and smile, I pricked my finger and scowled. 

I leave you with some photos. 

View from Castel Sant'angelo. If you've played this game called Assasin's Creed, you'd be like me...resisting the urge to run up towers and climbing pipes and stones. This place is LEGIT, like the game, with people in robes walking around. LEGIT. 

The room of an important person. With nothing but paintings and a harpsichord next to her bed. I wonder what her life is like, what are her first thoughts in the morning. But anyway...

Touching walls = touching history. 

And just incase you're wondering...the water is cold. Really cold. And it tastes...thick but refreshing. 

Ok so now its time for random fact of the day!

Did you know that Tiramisu actually means Pull Me Up? So lets say for some reason, you're dangling off a cliff, and an italian stranger is looking down at you...you should shout "TIRAMISU!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

All roads lead to Rome

Dear Friends,

I am in Rome, I can barely believe it but here I am. The flight here was really horrible, I couldn't get any sleep at all because of my back pain and also because I don't earn enough to upgrade to first class where I might have been able to get better sleep, but still....its okay. Instead, because of my lack of sleep, I watched lots of movies instead, so heres a mini film review of films I watched. (i'll put mini stars to indicate how good they are upon 5) 

1) Amelie *****
2) Big Eyes ****
3) Miss Meadows ***
4) Mordecai *
5) A Good Marriage **

so still! Rome! So much soul, culture, and history everywhere. But really, I'm not going to list down places to visit and which restaurant to eat at because truly I can't run a travel blog. I am terrible at that and also because there are better alternatives like Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor. But instead, I want to share some thoughts and observations with you starting with this: when travelling, don't fuss about the small things. And by this I mean, if things don't go your way... laugh first, shrug your shoulders, then figure it out later. If you get lost, don't fuss, just laugh ( a small giggle will do), and cheerfully ask for directions. I'm saying this because I noticed a lot of people asking for directions with a frown. Like *frowns* do you know where the metro is *frowns* Maybe frowning emphasises the fact that one is lost, I don't know... but don't do that...  Always always take things lightly. If things don't go to plan, like, it starts raining and your day plan is ruined...go with it! I know of people who get terribly upset when things like that happen. Don't fuss about the small things, taking things more lightly and I hate to use this word but, YOLOish, makes life so much easier and lighter rather than getting anxious and panicking and getting angry don't you think? 

ok also, 

Enjoy the sounds. By that I mean, listen to people talk. Listen to the local radio playing in shops. Listen to conversations . When I am walking along the streets of Rome, I like to repeat to myself the words that I hear. So I'll walk around and I'll hear someone say "Grazie!" and I'll repeat it exactly with the same intonation immediately (softly to myself of course). Italians are extremely friendly. Every morning as I walk down the street they will be smiling and waving "Buongiorno!". But anyway, I try to listen out for as many new italian words everyday to increase my vocabulary, and today I learnt that Matita means Pencil

Look at people. Imagine their stories, imagine their life. What do you think they do for a living? Look at their clothes, what is their favourite colour? This is my favourite activity to do. It's free too. 

Todays thoughts and observations: 

>The sun rises at 530am and sets at 9pm. This makes me feel extremely productive. I wake up early, and I go to sleep late, I feel like I can do more in the day. Strange feeling, but I like it so much better compared to winter days. 

>If I opened a restaurant here and nobody knows about it, I have to go out on the streets to tell people about my restaurant just like they do here, but that might seem overly desperate too.

>Sitting next to a well dressed 40 something year old italian man, he is invading my space....but its okay, strange connection...human to human. I will mentally let him know it's ok. Daijobu~

>Sometimes I wish I am the ultimate pick pocketer. Like I come here and I look weak and vulnerable so thieves prey on me. But actually BAM, I end up stealing all their stolen stuff and when they realise it....the look on their faces....haha I live for that moment. But sadly, I am just an ordinary 25 year old. 

>Maybe if I touch that ancient roman rock there, it will trigger something in my DNA that will make me glow. 

So anyway, I'll leave you with some photos and words...

"ok where am I"
"I don't know where this is"
"oh wells, whatever"
I died at this sight. 

Evenly spaced people
Man talking to hidden monkey who refuses to come down from the roof of his truck. 
Roses from last night to wipe your car. 
Aimless walking 
She wants the dress at the window, she walked past it 3 times. But she does not buy it. 
Is the balcony optional? Can the owners add it and also decide on the length of it? 
What if my soulmate is in this photo at this given time. 
Words I recognize: Tutti, Pane, Olive, Pizza, Superofferta, Acqua.
All roads lead to Rome

oh also, when people give you flowers on the street with a charmyyyyy smile, don't accept them. It usually comes with a price, and I was also kidding about the monkey on the man's roof.  Ciao! Notte~~~