Monthly Archives: March 2016

In these pages


The lights are out, the music soft
The effect from the wine is heady
I look around and then next to me
But I know that you’re not ready
For all the things I need to say
In order to clear my doubts
And if keeping them in can stay the pain
Then I’d rather go without

“I can’t stop reading your posts, they are amazing,”
You told me long ago
“I wish I’d known you earlier,” you said
“It’s never too late,” I said, my face aglow
But as the time went by and words turned scarce
I realized I was lost
Because keeping them in did stay the pain
But my peace was what it cost

So I put my pain from pen to paper
And from the floodgates came the words
Yet, from 4744 miles away
The wheels of torture whirred
“How can she write these things?” they squawked and bleated
I felt the walls closing in
Until a voice told me, strong and clear,
“The truth is never a sin.”

Now as I tell the story of us
I see all the things that could have been
But I know that time is a fickle mistress
And the survival of its plague must now begin
So in these pages I will live our lives
My pen will dance to thoughts of you
Until the day that you pick up my book
And decide to see these stories through

Rise and fall

Naples, Italy Europe backpacking trip Summer 2005

Naples, Italy
Europe backpacking trip
Summer 2005

I had first read about the infamous Borgia family when I studied European history for my Linguistics degree, and then again in Jeanne Kalogridis’ novel The Borgia Bride. Everything I had read about them — a family so steeped in corruption and treachery that they make Empire: Lebanon look like a Disney cartoon — sparked my interest in Naples, and made me put it on my list of places to visit when I planned my backpacking trip in the summer of 2005.

This is my favorite view of Mount Vesuvius, from across the Bay of Naples. I had planned to get a good view of it from the Castel Sant’Elmo, but on my way up to the fortress I happened to catch this view of it and it already took my breath away. Who would have thought that something so imposing could bring as much solace as it could destruction?

It speaks of the life I live now. For the last three months I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster that has taken me to heights I had long forgotten existed, and after a sharp peak, sends me plummeting back down in an almost 90-degree drop that I didn’t know I would still have to be subjected to. I bounce back and forth between the rare moments when I get to feel happier than I’ve been in a very long time, and the radio silence afterwards that leaves me wondering where I stand, and whether any of it will be worth it in the end.

Cleansing the crazies

My weight is something that I have struggled with for nearly the last 20 years of my life. I spent my teenage years being able to keep my weight down solely because of all the ballet, gymnastics, swimming and track and field I did in school, but once I left high school, my weight began to fluctuate in a rollercoaster ride that would go on and on for the next few years.

I would gain weight twice as easily as I lost it, and finding clothes that fit well enough was an endless chore. Then in the spring of 2013 I fell ill and surprisingly lost a fair amount of weight, after which I decided that since I had already had help there, I would keep it up. So I was surprisingly able to maintain that weight for the next two years, and actually be satisfied with the way I looked.

It wasn’t until last summer, when Empire: Lebanon miraculously knocked off the remaining pounds I had been so desperate to lose, that I was finally the lightest I had been since 2006. And that was when I decided that since I was so close to my target weight, it was time to hire a personal trainer to help me dig out the muscles that had been buried for so long. I hired Zaida and Muna’s trainer, who agreed to come to my house three times a week, and we made such good progress that I was told more than once that I was very fortunate not to have the ‘Chinese ass’.

But when I started gaining weight again after the new year, I worried over whether it was just from my food consumption — which hadn’t changed very much because I was so buoyed by last year’s weight loss — or from gaining actual muscle mass. So I decided to try the Impressed Juice Cleanse program to see if I could lose some of that weight, and what kind of weight it was.

I had previously tried a week of juicing some years ago, but found it difficult to maintain because I was constantly angry due to my job, and the lack of food and caffeine worsened my spirits. But I figured that if I was in a less frazzled state of mind, a juice cleanse couldn’t be that difficult to manage. So I got ambitious and signed up for four days of the juice cleanse, and two days of the master cleanse.

Juice Cleanse, Advanced

Master Cleanse

I was right to deduce that my previous attempt at a juice detox years ago was unsuccessful because the stress of my job was not helping my cause. This time around, with the only thing causing me any kind of stress at all these days was my psycho bitch stalker stationed 4744 miles away, it was easier to focus on just getting my six bottles of nutrients a day. After the first two days, I was no longer thinking about food, or even coffee, and the fact that I could go six days without a drop of coffee — and without wanting to kill anyone — was an achievement in itself.

I was also able to continue with my training; no matter how much I wanted to lose weight, I wanted to maintain my ass even more, ACL and PCL be damned. I had to disclose to my trainer that I was on the juice cleanse, so he toned down my workouts by 20% until he could gauge how much strength I still had without solid food. Even though I ended each session a little light-headed, I was surprisingly not as lethargic as I had expected to be.

On my fifth day of the cleanse, I decided to add two more days to the juice cleanse, bringing my detox to a total of eight days. By then, it was more of the idea that since I had already come this far, I might as well keep going, and I would probably have continued for as long as I could if I didn’t have a baby shower to attend and an impending trip to Singapore after the eighth day.

The result was that after eight days of juicing, I was 3.5kg lighter (and I definitely felt it too), and maybe an inch or so smaller. I was also able to determine that while I could lose water weight, the baju kurungs I had custom-made at the height of the Empire: Lebanon insanity were a little more snug now because of the muscle mass I had gained from the waist down. And given the feedback I’ve received since the dawn of the new year, that’s something I can definitely live with.