The Art of Getting By

Taken at Stasiun MRT Bundaran HI

If you are, or have been, 22, you must have known the feeling of being at this age. You are a student, in some well-known university, and that's great, but if you haven't graduated by now it means you're wasting your time. You are young, in your early twenties, but at the same time you're old enough to find a job, so if you're already graduated but not doing anything then it means something is up with you. You are perfectly single and having so much fun with your circle, yet at the same time you are also expected to have a partner to whom you can share all the complicatedness in life with, because of course your friends are not gonna be there forever—at least that's what they tell you. Or you already have a degree, and a job, and a partner, then what?

Today I woke up with a classic 22-year-old feeling of what is this? I go to the office and do what I'm good at, but there's an occasional thought of is this what I really wanted? I work at a company I actually admire, but every time the question do I want to be in this field for the long run? pops up, I don't know what to answer. Moreover, today at the meeting every single entity I saw looks like they already have their life all figured out. From which dressing to put on their salad lunch this afternoon, to which car they're buying their kids in 20 years. Meanwhile I literally can't have an absolute view for anything.

I'm not trying to drag anyone into my deep hole of thoughts. In fact I believe that paranoia is one of the things that makes a human, a human. It's perfectly normal to be concerned about what you're doing, and whether you're happy with it or not. Sure some people grow their own business at such young age, sipping tea breakfast while working comfortably from home. But Emily Dickinson also started to become an influential poet only after her death, when her sister found out stacks of poems she has been keeping her whole life—apologies for the emo reference. Right now I question about life more than I ever question about anything ever. And even though I know the only thing to solve this is to find an answer, I also am not sure if there really is one. I tend to overthink about this matter more than I could put into words and that's what makes it really scary.

What really puts a plot twist into this is, one time a friend of mine told me that in some ways she admires me because she thinks I know what I'm doing—cheers if you're reading this! And no, I don't want to ruin her notion by telling her that HEY, I'M LOST, I'M COLLAPSING TOO! Instead I smiled and say, Thank you, appreciations are so rare these days.

The closest analogy I could think of people is as if they're travelers; some make plans, some just go impromptu. Some have google maps, some just don't bother buying internet data. Is it wrong to be lost? Is it wrong when things don't go as planned? The journey will still go on no matter what. What carves our path is the choices we make along the way.

When I travel to a new place, I tend to google everything. What and where is this place I'm traveling to? What makes it special? What should I do there, what food should I try? Is the people nice or do I have to prepare a pepper spray inside my tote bag? I do this so that I don't miss out on anything and moreover, feel safe traveling around. However, even if I have already done a 'research' beforehand, I still have a hard time—given my indecisive personality, too—making a decision to what place I should visit, or things I should do. The more you know, the more you question, therefor the harder it is to make a decision. I want to be an artist, but also want a stable monthly income. I want to be with my own family, but it always makes me believe that I'm better distant. I want to settle without the feeling that I would miss out on whom I haven't already met. I want to do all things at once if I could, or have the chance to, but do I? Do we?

Imagine you're budget traveler and you have to stay in a really bad and shady hostel for one night before you could continue your trip tomorrow morning at 7. The bedroom smells, the bathroom smells, your roommate is foreign and just won't speak a single word in English,—how does this dude even survive—and the street noise from outside the window is not doing any favor either. The thought of spending one more minute inside the hostel kills you more than the possibility that any criminal in the area will do. But whatever you do, the whole thing will also be over by 7 tomorrow morning. You will leave and take the bus somewhere else, and continue live your life in peace.

Life is like that, too. You were happy once until you realise you aren't. It will show you how to feel like yourself in ways that you should. And you will—feel like yourself. Eventually things will get better and you'll be finer than ever. Of course things may go downhill again somewhere in the future but by now you should have learned how to not be afraid, not entirely because you have the answer to everything, but because you will get through it. Your right choices and stupid decisions have walked through it together with you too.

Life will still go on no matter what choices we make. You will be faced with enough, if not too many, choices in life. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong. Maybe then your wrong choices lead you to the right ones... well, who knows? Whatever you're facing right now, I face it too, other people face it too. You're sad. You're scared. Only remember that this too—just like other things that have happened before in life—shall pass. Your problem, it will come and it will also be over. And you will be okay. It's a lifetime cycle and is inevitable. Same thing goes to your confusion. There will be a time that you finally figure it out. Now you can only make the most of what you have, never let it leave you. So when things get out of the way—and things will get out of the way—you will still have every reason to live, and move on.



Vintage Shopping in Sydney

My favorite thing about traveling around beside getting to see places and meeting new people with different cultural backgrounds, is actually going on a shopping! People all over the world dress differently, thus I love to observe what they are wearing. Traveling, obviously, has given me the opportunity to do that, and also to encounter every vintage corners of the city that I visited. Wait, why vintage? Except from the fact that the oldies are my biggest muse in fashion, I feel like vintage stores give me a really broad choice of fashion from different styles and eras. Personally, vintage shopping is not  just about finding something unique, or things that most people don't wear, but also shaping up my own style and even adding some spice into it.

April last year I was in Sydney for my sister's wedding in Hunter Valley. I spent an extra day in Sydney to travel around—although truth is I ran out of ticket home lol—and of course take a look what Sydney vintage has to offer. I visited two areas that I believe are the most famous ones when it comes to vintage here, which were Darlinghurst and (I believe it was called) Newton. In both areas I found not only vintage but also fashion stores to shop around. In between there were also book stores and coffee shops. Not to mention the areas were also decorated with colorful murals. The neighborhood themselves had caught my attention!

Although the shops here are not as beautifully decorated as the ones in Tokyo—I mean, I can never compare anything to Tokyo, really—the items were such treasures! Some of the stores curate pieces; visitors can easily pick a denim jacket that suit them the most from the vintage Levi's rack. There's even this one store that put their items according to colors. Other stores just put their things randomly, giving me all the treasure-hunting feelings!

So what were my finds exactly?

Peacock Kaftan Dress (AUD 90-100-ish?)
Got this dress from probably the most interesting thrift shop all over Darlinghurst, called Zoo Emporium. If you fancy vintage blings and sequin like me, I don't see any reason you shouldn't visit this place. They have very wide range of dresses, and I even eyed some of the platform boots, but too bad none of them matched my size. The shopkeeper was nice too that she recommended a few of other stores I should check out. Among all the colors inside the shop I stumbled upon this oddly looking kaftan with some overwhelming peacock sequin embellishment on it—guess who owned this dress before me! It was initially too long for me so I had to cut the length off a bit and added a little slit on both sides so it's more comfortable for everyday wear. Also, by the time this photo was taken I was still crazy in love with my rattan basket bag.

Levi's Denim Jacket (AUD 50-60-ish...? Maybe)
I think Cream On Vintage is one of the top stores for thrifting since it has a few branches over Sydney. The very iconic monkey logo gave me an image of this space monkey thing from Fight Club lol how is this related to anything I'm about to write here? Anywho, Cream On Vintage is the typical Tokyo thrift stores where you can easily find vintage levis denim jacket and corduroy shirts in every color possible. They even upcycled some vintage polo shirts into halter tops too, talking about vintage summer perfection! But of course I don't have enough money to buy the whole store so I ended up with this Levi's jacket. It has the perfect light blue color which I think very 1990s and we all know how much I wish I lived through that era.

Aviator-ish Sunglasses (AUD50)
I also got this from Cream On Vintage, they have a lot of vintage-looking glasses (which was new-ly produced but has this oldies vibe) and actual vintage glasses. These ones I got was from their vintage collection and truth to be told, I don't think I have worn my other sunglasses ever since I got this—which was a year ago! It has this round frames that's the right size for my face—since some of the round glasses are too small that they make your face looks weird, or too big that they loose the vintage vibe to it. Also the handles have very unique engraving! I don't find vintage sunglasses very easily, should have bought more pairs!



George Town Photo Diary

Malaysia is not a stranger to me anymore. I traveled here when I was a kid, even did a summer exchange in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur back in 2016. It's safe to say that I'm already pretty familiar with the surroundings and how to get around. Although, I was still stoked to spend the week here, giving there are still plenty of places that I haven't yet visited.

Coming here for the third time now I feel like going to a new destination. Living alone for quite some time, it makes me more interested in exploring new places. Traveling around has been pretty easy nowadays, thanks to the invention of google maps and online transportation services. Still, walking around in a city without no one guiding you where to go is both challenging and fun. This time that city happens to be Georgetown, Penang.

Named as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites, Georgetown is the capital city of Penang and located in the Penang island. So expect to find inexplicable art scenes along the streets, from murals to other types of installation. Since every corner is a photo-worthy spot, I didn't really bother walking around, although the weather was a little too warm by the time I was visiting.

A couple of days before I visited, I was in Malacca city, which was also inscribed as one of UNESCO world heritage sites as well. Similarities between both cities of course can be found through their architectural style. Old, worn-out shophouses and colonial buildings with a touch of cultural diversity. An exquisite view of ancient architecture.

I came here with no expectations at all. I even put another town on the list, just in case I changed my mind. But arriving here and knowing that I'm only a walking distance away to the sound of waves and the most fresh seafood in town, my heart is so in awe. Spending an evening in the city sipping coffee or talking a walk along the jetty, is never too much.

I found plenty of art and antique shops along the streets. Some stuffs I just don't find back home. It's actually an eclectic heaven for me, even to just window shop around. And of course the art just doesn't stop there. Themed cafes and coffee shops in Georgetown are worth-visiting—not that I already am a sucker for these kind of places—and I wish I had visited more. I didn't know any city could actually draw my interest again after Tokyo, but this one surely is a catch.

Junk Cafe

Have yourself an authentic kaya toast breakfast

Pinang Peranakan Museum

Awesome Canteen @ Sekeping Victoria


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