Writing’s been an important part of my life since I was a kid, eight or nine years old, forcing my sister to join me in scribbling out dumb stories in our notebooks. It used to be just pure self-indulgence, but once I started looking critically at stuff I put in written word, writing anything just became really frustrating.

I’ve always struggled with having a messy mind. I’m a chronic overthinker. I regularly confuse myself. I can put things down from one angle, but I’m usually thinking of a hundred others and not even knowing which I believe. And when I try to find a way around this, it usually involves not really thinking at all. Taking things at face value and sweeping them under the rug by distracting myself with triviality. When I want to lay my thoughts down, I usually have to do it in bursts, making bullet-point lists of “sources of anxiety” as a way to release some of that mental tension. (One way I find easy to document experiences, without clouding the memories with all sorts of commentary, is making playlists of songs. I’ve been doing it since 2008 and now have 9 playlists, the one for 2017 still in progress.)

Today’s Sunday, and I have a day off — finally, after a really hectic month. I thought about what I’ve been doing this entire year since the last time I wrote a summary post of things I completed. That was winter break of 2015. Since then I’ve done one round of final year exams, moved flats twice, had summer. In all honesty, I didn’t have much problem adjusting to living alone when I first came to this country, but readjusting to living around my family again in summer was difficult. I was happy to be reunited with them, but it’s quite an energy-sapping thing, living with people. Over summer I travelled to South Korea again. I worked three different part-time jobs, including waitressing, being a guide at an art exhibition, and ad-hoc sports hub events. I got my driving license and helped out at orientation camp. I took classes. Waitressing was probably the worst part of everything, not the job itself, but the bosses and supervisors were pretty damn awful. Dealing with them made me want to shrivel up. Just making sure I got paid the fair amount was a headache. I held out for the good hourly rate, but it was a struggle.

Coming back to London, I forced myself to audition for the uni symphony orchestra, because I knew I wanted to play in a more “serious” orchestra again, but at the same time I really didn’t think I’d make the cut. It had been three, four years since I played with any kind of seriousness? Anyway it was the right decision, because though stressful at first it’s been fun and playing with them, doing concerts and everything brought something I really missed back into my life. In November I went to Iceland, which was just the most amazing place. I want to post pictures, but I have to finish writing this quickly because there’s a long day of semi-adulting ahead. (Living in my own place is so much more tedious than I’d thought it’d be.) The landscape was so vast, so empty, so stunning that it actually moved me, like made me want to cry because of how beautiful it was. Our tour guide took us to some more off-the-beaten-track places, so we’d get the full experience of the scale of the place. Miles and miles of volcanic sand beach with not a single construction, person or even a tree or shrub, giant white waves, Atlantic ocean stretching uninterrupted all the way to the South Pole. Flat grassland as far as the eye can see, to a series of uninhabited mountains overlapping with glaciers. The South Coast was the best part of it, and the glacier hiking was otherworldly. The glacier lagoon was the actual setpiece for Interstellar, for two separate planets featured in it. The northern lights weren’t as vivid as they look in photos, but there was still the sense of magic and wonderment when you first see that wave of green streaking across the pitch black un-light-polluted sky, and see the curtains of light falling from the trails. We did the Golden Circle, and a peninsula on the West Coast including the glacier featured in Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Each landscape was really… poetic, for lack of a better descriptor, and so unique — I never saw anything like it in any other European country I’ve visited. Iceland in general isn’t super developed, but it doesn’t feel backwards at all. Instead, it almost feels future post-apocalyptic, like a small isolated community that survived on its own millions of years past doomsday.

That was before Christmas break. Over Christmas break I moved into my own place, and spent days just cleaning, unpacking, building furniture. Midsessionals came and went, and now we’re well on the way to OSCEs and finals. It’s all happened so fast — five months since last summer, and in another three and a half it’ll be summer again. I’m starting to feel vaguely panicked because I haven’t laid out many firm plans for it, but I’ll get there soon. (Hopefully. If not I’ll probably just apply for a job at Starbucks.) I’ve been so concerned about things like plans for summer, extra things I need to do on top of coursework, projects and etcetera, that I forgot how difficult my course is. I’m not high-functioning enough to be worrying about extraneous programmes, should really just be focusing on trying to pass second year for now.

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