5 years.

Today's a pretty special day. It's been exactly 5 years since I first set foot on this island.

For this, I've decided to do something pretty special. At this very moment I'm composing a blog post on my phone for the first time. And I'm on my way to NUS to join my brothers for a little celebration. Trying my best to smoothen the mobile writing experience... by taking the longest possible route out of NTU - a few rounds of CL-Red followed by Weekend Rider.

About two years back when Tumblr was still my favorite blogging platform, I wrote a "3 years and counting" post. Luckily I haven't decided to take down my Tumblr; and while I prepared stuff to write this, I decided to take a look. Most of the photos I used back then was hosted elsewhere and no longer accessible, so I was left with a rather short block of text, detailing some of the great memories I had with people.

And indeed it's the people I've come to know that made the last 5 years of my life memorable. My current address book is probably a good indication of that - every single person inside has come into my life one way or another and I'm extremely grateful for it.

And thanks to people every year seems to get better and better. Two years ago I wrote that post because the year 2012 was the best year of my life then (thanks to the lovely people I met at CJ. Especially PW). 2013 then became the best year of my life (a lot of things happened). And at the moment, 2014 is the best year of my life. This year is special because while most of the time was spent back home, this is the year I started uni - an entirely new experience, and most importantly it's the first time I'm separated from my band of brothers. Blessing in disguise I guess: got to spend my days with a band of brothers AND sisters who are so accomodating. We did loads of stuff together; I had my inspring moments. Basically everyday's been great. 5 years ago, the first time I was separated from my family, my band of brothers is my pillar of support. Now when I'm separated from my bands of brothers, I got even more people as my support. Isn't that wonderful?

Now to the fun part. How much I've changed over the past 5 years?

1. The most obvious change and the change the annoys people the most is probably the fact that somehow I've been stretched 25cm longer. And yet somehow I still can't catch high balls. I suspect height has a direct relationship with clumsiness.

2. I started sharing more about my life. This directly correlates with my social media presence. I started using Facebook not long before I came here. Then in February 2010 I joined Twitter. Around the same time I joined Tumblr. It remained my favorite blogging platform for quite a while. Fast forward, around early 2012 I had my first contact with Instagram because Taylor Swift posted those nice little photos with all the filters. I immediately jumped on the bandwagon when they released the Android app in April. Then came G+, which is an obvious choice because I love Google. Then I abandoned Tumblr for this because again I love Google. That's a pretty long history, but I somehow manage everything just nice.

3. I started listening to and appreciating music. It's hard to believe 5 years ago my knowledge of music was close to nought. Well at home I hardly listened to any. But when I came here I was introduced to all kinds of music by my great brother (until now his greatest regret still seems to be "inadvertently" introducing me to Taylor Swift but what's past is past hah? I got to thank him very much for that.) Then I started discovering stuff myself, consciously listening to the music I've come across everyday to find what suits me. Turns out a lot of stuff suits me so I got all kinds of music in my iPod. And I bring my iPod around, almost constantly plugged in. At this very moment, I'm slowly digesting the lyrical depth of Clean on a speeding MRT...

4. Because of 2 & 3, my quality of writing has slowly gone up. When you've done something often enough and you've taken enough inspiration from other people, I guess there must be improvements.
I know it sounds wrong, but sometimes I do read my own stuff and laugh at it.

5. Most importantly, I discovered that I have the capacity to do a lot of things (writing is one definitely). Or at least I'm courageous enough to think I can do it.
Over here I'm out of my comfort zone almost all the time with little time to adjust. I learned to use my brain to think on the spot (after all I have to admit... I'm pretty smart.) And it worked out. A few times. And it boosted my confidence. And so whenever the situation arises I rely on my most trusted part of my body. The other day I came to (probably) the most important debate of my life to date with a huge task to overturn my own disadvantage (details I shall leave it to another post. Maybe next year.) Final result: I couldn't. But I was still proud of myself because I knew for a fact that I did my best with my trusted brain under pressure - coming out with responses I normally couldn't think of. No regrets I guess.

6. Still talking about my brain, I highly doubt it's as sharped as 5 years ago. But it could still retain a lot of numbers so it shouldn't be a problem.

That's a lot of things. In just 5 years.

Now as my 183 reaches Heng Mui Keng Terrace, I'm compelled to just end my mobile writing experience here. In a few moments I will join my brothers, then at 5 we'll have an early dinner to celebrate, then coincidentally it's someone's birthday today so there's another celebration, then there's the Manchester derby, then I'll spend the night here. Tomorrow's the first day I'm with the rush hour traffic into NTU.

It's a pretty special day.


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