IN THE SPIRIT OF LONDON

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Photos by Mikko Puttonen.

Just an update on what's been groovin: I've been back from my travels in Santorini, Paris and New York for almost a month now and London is my current home base where I am continually seeking opportunities for work, meeting new people and having a jolly good time. Everyday I learn new things about this city. Awhile ago, I revisited St Paul's Cathedral and it was one of the many landmarks in London that made me fall in love with this city. We had spent a night at a hotel right across the iconic cathedral and I jumped at the opportunity to be able to run around before life started to happened at the wee hours in the morning. That was 2 years ago. This time around, I remember it being such a good day spent with my friend, Mikko, after a really good curry night and sleepover before a day of exploring. So I guess I can say that St Paul's is a place that radiates a lot of positivity for me.

Having been travelling in and out of London this past year has made me have a love-hate relationship for this city but it's really it's contradictions that have made me come back for more. It may not have the best weather, the tubes always go on strike and everything seems to be double the price from back home but I love the people I've met in all parts of town, places I never thought I'd ever step foot on like Peckham where I had the best Motown parties and danced my heart out. Or hanging around at the most ridiculous house parties. Reuniting with old friends and meeting new ones. Discovering the new in the old in this city I feel so blessed being able to wake up to. The future is still uncertain, I am still unsure of my next steps, where I'm travelling to next or where I'll live a year from now but the energy in this city has kept me positive and hopeful that there are better days to come and that surely, one day I'll be able to call it home. 

NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU.

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<i>Wearing Klarra Overalls, Free People top, Celine bag and Miu Miu sunglasses and shoes. Photos by Henry Bae. </i>

We shot these images in Times Square during my last few hours in New York. While it’s every other New Yorker's and my own nightmare, it made sense for me to revisit the classic ‘concrete jungle’ backdrop. It reminded me a lot about my love-hate relationship with the city, while it's amazing being surrounded by all these billboards, people and feeling like anything is possible, it was a place you are and feel incredibly small in. 

I was partly in New York for work and to visit one of my best friends and while I would sum it up as a good time, I felt like a complete mess while being there. I guess this could be partly because the last time I was in this unforgiving, fast-paced city was when I decided to travel here solo and found it to be one of the most depressing weeks of my life although I came out from it stronger and motivated. This time around, there was that constant fear of being alone and it was the last thing I wanted to do. Henry and I argued- I was being a complete brat at times. We were both so insecure trying to make each other feel vulnerable. 

The week returning from my 3 week long adventure was a hard one emotionally and mentally. I pretty much lost myself. Travel for me is my escape and the moment I return to some sort of familiarity and routine, I seem to fall apart a little. I’ve realised that I am constantly trying to run away from the present. It’s been a lot of ups and downs this year, but recently I’ve found myself to be an emotional wreck due to finally coming to a realisation after so many years why I behave the way I do. It made me so sad that, that was it. And it was something that I simply couldn’t run away from anymore and had to deal with everyday, no matter how long it took. 

While New York City is known for it’s relentless energy and being the city where dreams are made of, where anything is possible, it is the one city I’ve found myself to be in a literal nightmare more than once and I really do question it. Why this amazing city- I really don’t know. But if going back has made me learn one thing, it’s simply to love. I think going back with a fear and kind of negativity was just a bad start. So many times I’ve told myself to do all things with love, and to think love, breathe love and live love. But I was mostly frustrated with the city. Angry, determined to not allow it to beat me up like it did two years ago. We all have scars, and the ones that remain shouldn’t have to haunt you when you’re revisiting a place or a time, it should only remind you to get yourself together and be stronger to turn it all around. If I had to sum it up, New York had won again but by turning the last few hours around into magic, I knew that I came out of it stronger than I did before. So thank you New York, for being so hard on me. You always seem to be the most real to me.  

TILL TIME GOES FORWARD

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I’m back in Asia for a quickie after one of the best vacations of my life in Morocco and Amsterdam. Singapore is my home and even though it’s only been a few days, it’s already been a whirlwind of emotions. I’ve come to question a lot about my achievements in the past year and wondering if I’ve lost myself in the process of ‘keeping the dream alive’. It is no doubt the dream has always been London. I’ve come to a point where I’m risking everything to see how I can make it work. There is a lot of stake and I find myself realising how tired I am- tired of living, tired of uncertainty and trying to embrace it. I’m normally one to share experiences, how I’ve come out of it or sharing the process. Today, I’m just lost. 

I’m happy to be reunited with familiar faces and catch up but I also want nothing more but to lock myself indoors and hide from the world. It’s confusing. I don’t know how ready I am for my next steps but I am so determined that I am just diving right into it, no questions asked. Morocco’s landscapes were some of the most inspiring I had ever seen and I am determined to get creative again, maybe the work I will get myself into will change my perspectives and allow me to embrace this circumstance I am in and I’ll be able to make something worthwhile out of it. I need encouragement, motivation and very simply (and so badly) some kind of stability. I’d love to hear if you’ve ever felt this way and how you came out of it. For now, I’m going with the flow and taking baby steps, getting through each day.

Photos taken by my dad, it was fun going on road trips and food adventures again with him while making him to take my photos. It's what I do best.