Wednesday, August 25, 2021


we were both young when I first saw you

This post is going to talk about all kinds of love: the platonic kind, romantic, physical and fun love, an agape love for your neighbor and each individual in the world, familial and filial love, and some of them are mixed in with one another. If you cannot tell what kind of love I mean, it probably means I'm confused and can't tell either, and I'm not even being coy. I really don't know.
First of all, I was supposed to fly ANA to Narita, then onwards to Vancouver last Sunday. When I was checking in, the ground crew told me that my Covid PCR test was not going to be valid for my arrival time in Nanaimo (where I will be studying), because I'd taken my PCR test too early and my layover in Narita was going to be too long, and therefore I wasn't allowed to board my flight. Most of my friends and family members were there at the airport with me. I felt completely dejected, so I went home and cried, and just bummed around, before booking a more direct flight through LAX.

Anyhow, on that Sunday night, Jaysen passed me a wrapped book that he said was supposed to last me through the layover. It was the book Humans by Brandon Stanton, and it contains 400 or so stories about and by humans all over the world. If you're familiar with the account Humans of New York on Instagram, it's basically the same concept, but done with people from all over the world. As I had two days before my next actual flight to LAX, I finished reading it at home. I loved it. I love books like that because I love human stories, and I especially love the Humans series because on my second time in LA (in 2016), I was reading the Humans of New York book, and somehow I found myself in New York next, so I just... really feel an affinity for it. I left the book at home because I'd finished reading it and I didn't have much space in my luggage, so if anyone in Singapore would like to borrow it, let me know and I'll ask one of my sisters to pass it to you.

Jaysen wrote me a card to accompany the book. The intro of the card is like that because some of them (my clingies hehehe) had written me a card for my farewell, and Jaysen wrote his message in it last minute, while he was in my house restroom, when they had come over for dinner. Jeez. In any case, Jay said he knows I'll move on to do powerful and meaningful things in the world, and Monica said in her farewell message that she'll always support my changemaker ways, and hearing words and messages like that always pushes me forward. Sometimes I think people think I'm unrealistic, I'm too dreamy, and when I try to push for a replacement of capitalism, when I denounce the grind of life, when I argue for a degrowth economy to make a final push against climate change, I feel really silly and I think most people in my life just look at me like I'm weird. So it helps to know that some people do believe in the things I believe in, or at least they're not discouraging me from my beliefs. 

On my actual flight to LAX, I'd arrived early for check-in, and the ground crew was almost done with my pre-boarding, when she said she couldn't complete it because it would beep her to key in my ESTA number. If you're not familiar with ESTA, it's a sort-of visa alternative for countries that have good connections with the US or whatever, so Singapore is part of it. Before Covid, Singaporeans didn't need an ESTA for layovers and transits, both the ground staff and I confirmed it, but apparently it had changed just for Covid. So, I applied for my ESTA right there and then, but time kept passing and it wasn't being approved. I was losing hope because at the time I applied for my ESTA, it was 6am in EDT, which means even earlier (3am) in PDT, and I was so done waiting and trying to get around Covid procedures.

I left the boarding counter, and found my friends, Syai, Aishah and MJ on the departure kerbside. They weren't allowed into the terminal because in Singapore, the Covid protocol is only passengers are allowed into terminals. I sat there, lamenting my entire PCR test and ESTA fiasco, and telling them I didn't want to go to Canada anymore, Canada hates me, and every part of my journey seemed jinxed. All three of them (and Nate, who used to fly with SQ) told me they would wait for me till the very last minute. They called the ESTA hotline, they Googled ESTA durations, they tried to find loopholes. I was ready to retrieve my luggage to go home, when at the actual very fucking last minute (the email's timestamp was 6.41pm and my flight was at 7.50pm), I received the email saying my ESTA had been approved. 

I ran the fuck out of the terminal and gave everyone a hug, then ran to board my plane. If I graduate, I mean when I graduate, because clearly I will graduate, it will only be because I have people like MJ, Aishah, Syai and Nate who sat me the fuck down and told me not to give up hope.  

I eventually boarded the plane to LAX, and found out I had three hours of complimentary wifi. My Instagram inbox had been flooded with well-wishes as Singaporeans (who are still not completely allowed to leave the country) said they would live vicariously through me, watching me in my studies. Sandi texted me saying I had "main character vibes" and I suppose, I'll try to be a good main character?????

When I arrived in LA, I met up with Joey. This plan was only 2 days in the making, because you understand I'd only booked the flight ticket through LAX two days prior to flying. On the way there, while in the plane, I was very unsure of it. I hadn't met him since 2016 when, if you will recall, we accidentally got knocked up lololol. We haven't had the smoothest relationship online for the five years since, either. He said he would meet me, but I didn't know if he would stand me up, or whatever. 

He did end up picking me up at the airport, along with all my luggage. I'd intended to leave the luggage at the airport, but all the lockers got removed after 9/11, so the more you know. We'd planned to get ice cream or dessert, but we went to a couple of places, and they were all closed, because by the time we had driven out of the airport, it was half past ten ish at night. I did, however, see a lululemon in one of the malls. I got excited, even though I fucking hate lululemon (it pleases me so to be able to say it after two years). I hate lululemon just by virtue of it being fast fashion, otherwise the clothes are pretty decent. I've been wearing only lululemon through my entire journey (which has now taken thirty-two hours, and the clock is still ticking). 

So he brought me to Ralphs, which is a grocery store/Trader Joe's type-beat supermart that closes late, and we got ice-cream in a tub. Joey also said I smelled like animal crackers (what in the fuck, I do not understand) so we got a pack of animal crackers for me to smell. We went back to his place, and we watched the first episode of The Kingdom, which was just Joey making silly comments about it, whilst I complained about the lack of zombies (spoiler: they only start turning up at the end of the pilot). 

He gave me a tour of his current house, and it was actually a pretty nice place. As expected, he had random bolts from previous rockets, all his geek-type shit, but then in the parking lot! There was a limousine!!!! I don't know why he or his housemates have a limousine, and it just again reminded me of how.... absurd his life is. He works for Elon Musk at SpaceX, and I don't think he has as critical a mindset of billionaires as I do, of course. In any case, seeing a limo in his parking lot just made me feel a lot. On the one hand, why the fuck would anyone have a random limo?????? On the other hand, Taylor Swift also goes around in limousines and I love Taylor Swift, although why I'm comparing Joey to Taylor Swift, I do not know. Los Angeles is fucking weird. 

Joey and I made up a joke about giving him 5 stars on Yelp, because he'd been such a considerate host the entire night. When I was in his car, he asked if I was feeling warm or cold, and then when we were at his place, he asked if I needed another blanket or pillows while I was in his living room, and he told me I could get water from the dispenser, etc etc. Also, something that made me smile was Joey now carries a waterbottle around his house to drink water from, which is a huge improvement from five years ago. He used to have cartons upon cartons of bottled water to drink from!!!! At the time, it didn't bother me that much because I wasn't as aware of climate change, but if I saw it now, it would bug me. I wonder if he made the switch because of some other woman in his life, because if he did, the world has only her to thank.

After midnight, while Joey was going to bed, I teased and flirted through text, and I'm saying it upfront because we need to normalise women having physical desires and expressing them. This is also why y'all always see me posting about my toys on Instagram, because I would like it to be normal accepted behavior!! So, even though he had been completely gracious and made not a single move on me, I basically jumped him in bed. I would like to say, firstly, that doing stuff at 26 and 27 years old, and then doing it at a jump later at 31 and 32 years old, feels different, and it felt much better now. The good thing is Joey does what he says he will do (men need to underpromise and overdeliver), so even though it was daytime in Singapore time and I should have been awake, he induced me to sleep without even any external.... appliances. HAHAHA I amuse myself so much does anyone else even appreciate me making a clown of myself?????? 

While we were both drifting in and out of sleep (we only had like three hours of sleep between the time we actually went to sleep and the time we had to wake up for my flight to Vancouver), I counted the number of times we both had the sleep jerk. You know, when you're falling asleep-asleep, sometimes you kinda have a little spasm when you actually fall asleep, I don't know why but last night, it preoccupied me to observe how many times we did it. Could have been because I'd already had a longass journey, and my brain needed something to do.

I don't know what it is about Joey. I know I'm starting a new life in Vancouver and I'll meet new people, and you never know the kind of people you will fall in love with, but it's been five years, and he still has space in my heart, and it's been two years since New York, and I know I will always have a soft spot for Bennett. For all intents and purposes, Joey and I are not exactly compatible. I think we are similarly intelligent but in vastly different aspects and disciplines. He likes rockets and space exploration (I would have found it more appealing a couple decades ago when space was the final frontier but I currently find the urgent matter of climate change much more significant than men stroking their egos), and he likes racecars. I like social justice and mental health, the preservation of nature and waste management, etc. I could not give two and a half fucks about racecars. 

And yet. And yet, you could have a hundred, or no actually, a thousand people talk about coolant and engines and it would mean nothing to me, but if Joey talks about it, I would be mesmerised and learn something new. The pheromones he produces are attractive to the transmitters I have. It's so weird, you put me in a car or on a couch with Joey, and he could say something completely mundane and I will be smiling like an idiot. Isn't it fascinating?! I find it fascinating, because I try to attribute it to his voice, his hair, the actually ridiculous things he says, but someone else could have those same things and do the same things, and it all boils down to how our bodies react to each other chemically. I love how I have fun with Joey, like a lot of the time, I'm using my brain and thinking about how to change the world, but then Joey wants to watch a zombie show and make fun of it, and it's a joyful thing for me. What the fuck even????

It's been a long, long, longass journey, and I want it to end, as in I would like to reach my place and shower, and clean the fuck up. However, I am also full of love from all the love people keep sending me, from my family, from my friends, from my lovers and ex-lovers alike. I am receiving love in the form of money, in the form of words, in the form of time. I don't know where anything will lead me to, but these moments, these moments of love from all of you, they are enough. I am so full of joy and courage, and I'm ready. 

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