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two more days! there’s a general upward swing towards less pain and discomfort, but there’s these high and low points throughout the day based on how painful/discomfortable I feel.

woke up on day 4 feeling crappy as usual. this was partially because day 3 night saw me unable to sleep due to much stomach discomfort from belatedness. i’m really wondering where all this gas is coming from – is it the apples? is it the barley? or maybe it’s just me not eating as much as I used to.. hmm. i discovered it’s really through that your bodily discomfort manifests itself in your dreams – think i was dreaming of being trapped in some situation with a bad diarrhoea or something and woke up realising it was my stomach growling badly.

but anyways, THANK GOD for resolving the stomach bloatedness when I prayed through it. honestly, its boiling down to just praying simply and praying through these issues and being grateful of being able to function normally and being able to appreciate stuff. quite the change in perspective. 

day 4 saw new pains – my tongue started having sores (last time i checked, this is kinda early for that), making eating a little more difficult. but no more nausea even without taking anti-nausea pills! yay! the nauseating feeling still comes and goes at times, especially during long car journeys but its quite manageable nowadays. 

and oh.. day 4 happened to be chinese new year. we didn’t go any visiting this year, i think partially cos my parents were really knackered from taking care of me, and also cos they really didn’t want me to be exposed to too many “outside” viruses and were worried on my strength throughout the day. 

parents.. 

thing is, we know how much they love us. but how do you tell them sometimes that their way of loving us might be a little too smothering, or a little too much, such that it might not be good for recovery? it’s impossible to tell them not to worry, impossible to tell them that you should stay out more and exercise more instead of just moping at home.. and yet its heart wrenching to see them worry themselves sick and tired.. sigh. 

day 5 was good. woke up with a splitting headache and a worry for flu, but it faded away after awhile. a long car journey to my aunt’s place took its toll on me again, but the good food at her place did wonders. a good long afternoon walk at macritchie did wonders too. and so did another long night’s walk. I’m almost back to 9/10 in terms of the comfort scale (which is probably why I’m blogging). so glad. so thankful. 

of course there’s still fear. i worry about tonight’s sleep. worry about how i’d be when i wake up. worry about the next few days and how i’d feel. of course, worrying about the next chemo and the next crash.. i’m worried that i’ve associated the room and the treatment with nausea and how my stomach would react. but well, i really have to live day by day now right? 

a day lived is a good day. 

 

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you know, when i was (notice the past tense) in rome and people asked of what I liked about rome, I often stuttered and seriously paused, not knowing what to say. the loneliness, the frustrations with transportation and the torrid weather made it tough for me to really discern what was really good about rome.

well, now that i’m back in singapore for a (well-deserved, may i say?) break, the inevitable comparisons start and I start realizing what exactly i miss about rome and what i love about singapore.

for singapore:

1 – fuss-free, smooth and efficient transportation system that’s fully air conditioned, runs pretty much on time and gets to most places.

2 –  weather/infrastructure – whilst humid, singapore rarely ever gets scorching what with considerable cloud cover. also with a much built up infrastructure, air conditioned passageways and the plethora of shopping malls, you can pretty much escape the heat

3 – english, be it the queen’s variant or the mangled singlish one. (thank you)

for rome:

1 – stunning outdoor attractions nearby – yes, im gushing about the beaches once again, but honestly, living in Singapore is kinda like being thirsty whilst stranded on a raft in the middle of an ocean – the irony isn’t lost considering that Singapore is a small island with quite a bit of sea around it, but there’s nary a nice beach or inviting, clean stretch of coast. =(

2 – fresh fruits, right from the market. oh man.. my mom bought cherries today and to my utter horror i noticed the price tag of 17.90sgd for them – something that would be cost barely 4euros in rome. one thing i really love about rome is how the different seasons and times bring about different fruits in season, all which are so juicy, sweet and delicious – be it apricots, peaches, prunes, figs, honey melons, watermelons, grapes, strawberries (the watermelons here look positively shriveled here) and so on. i don’t really get it actually – why is it that the fruits in rome look so vibrant in color, so engorged in size and so appealing, whereas fruits in singapore look kinda sad and shriveled.

3. fresh food, natural and thick with flavor – i think i now understand why italians like to eat so simply, without much thick  overpowering sauces and flavors as compared to alot of singaporean dishes. methinks its because the freshness of the local produce is really something on its own and needs no other enhancements. be it the olive oil, the tomatoes, the meat and vegetables, there is a certain richness and natural flavor that i feel like is missing when i am eating food here in singapore. and that, to me, being a foodie in singapore, is sad news.

so yeah, that’s how i see it currently. given a choice where to stay at, i’ll still pick Singapore though. its ultimately still where all my friends and family are, and that’s really what matters for me. (and here ends my national day plug =))

italians have an obsession with beaches. i mean, i guess it’s kinda warranted what with the most spectacular beaches, crystal clear waters, soft-sand and blazing sun that true makes a beach experience, but still – i’m 4/4 for this month for having been to the beach every weekend. and as a result i look like i fell into some permanent bronze-brown paint vat. seriously. i’m avoiding the sun these coming days.

but talking about beaches, monterosso was pretty much the perfect place for a beach vacation for the casual tourist, what with wide expanses of beachfront, good seafood restaurants nearby and a perfectly hot sunny day along with the cool, therapeutic water. my beach regime at monterosso was simple:

[1] sit on the deck chair with sunglasses playing with phone and just nua-ing (relaxing for the non-singlish enlightened)

[2] when i start to feel warm, notion my friend to head down to the waters for a uber refreshing swim and dip.

[3] get out of water, have a nice shower till the body feels cool and refreshed. if hungry, grab some focaccia and wine at the nearby restaurant.

[4] rinse, lather, repeat.

ah… life.

but to be honest, when we first hiked to monterosso on the first day, i was.. kinda disappointed. the beach was looking kinda small, cold and crummy. it was getting late and the sun had pretty much dipped quite low so it wasn’t that fun. furthermore my friend had mistakenly brought me only to the very first portion of the town, where there was only a real small, kinda dirty strip of the beach. so yeah, i was kinda bummed.

so imagine my utter delight the next day when i saw this.

life’s good eh?

geek post ahead.

chanced upon this blog which really warms my heart seeing such beautiful, simplistic and meaningful designs. part of my dream is really to become such a designer, with razor sharp design POV and the skills to match with it. i mean, to me design’s main purpose serves to communicate – and the less frills it takes to convey a message and meaning, the more visual ‘punch’ it has.

hence, the combination of x-men fan-boyism and like of design in me made it impossible for me not to post this. methinks the depiction of rogue (with gloves) and kitty pryde (though the wall) are incredibly smart.

some gripes though.. would people stop depicting emma frost as though her predominant power is this diamond shaped body crap? it’s not as though she was called white queen for that, she’s a omega-level, skillful psychic mutant that can easily outclass the likes of most x-men. and since when did dark phoenix sprout wings? haha guess im griping already.

walking into vernazza from corniglia

vernazza is really beautiful.

a cosily packed bunch of houses on a finger of land that juts out from the cliffs into the sea, forming some sort of a natural cove. well, raymond (my travel bud) had mentioned that vernazza had actually suffered quite siginificant damage due to flooding (inland, not from the sea.. in case you were wondering like me). and things were actually still in pretty bad shape up till march this year.

so i was glad to see a vibrant little township, with things pretty much all restored and the damaged houses freshly painted in cherry hues of yellow and pink.

mind you, the journey from corniglia to vernazza ain’t easy, considering that you first have to scale a ridiculous amount of steps to even get from the train station at corniglia to corniglia, and then embark on a circuitous, hill-climbing journey that spans roughly 2km. i was panting and really annoyed at my lack of fitness whilst huffing along the paths, and very very glad i had bought a full litre of mineral water in corniglia.

so of course i rewarded myself to an artigianale gelato in Vernazza – choosing a crema di Vernazza which is a blend of vanilla, strawberry and white chocolate bits. yummy!

 

a view of manarola

manarola is in fact a hamlet of nearby riomaggiore, whereas corniglia is a hamlet of vernazza. the distance between these two hamlets is roughly 1km, though landslides have closed down the sea-road between the two (as of now), meaning that you probably should that the train to transit between corniglia and manarola.

well, unless you are as foolhardy as us, who insisted on bashing a way through the forest in attempt to find that ‘ridgeline’ to walk along to get to corniglia.

i blame national service in singapore for instilling in all their males a sense of wanting to do a straight-path bash in forest situations. and to doggedly refuse to backtrack even when the path has obviously disappeared and whats left is prickly brambly small openings between trees. lol

well, after that misadventure, we ate humble pie and scrambled to get on the train from manarola to corniglia. to be honest, these two hamlets aren’t exactly very unique as compared to the likes of riomaggiore, vernazza or monterosso, so they don’t get their own post. but its still photo-worthy nontheless, so let’s start the show.

setting off from manarola

along the sea-side path before you hit the “closed” sign. but hey, it’s still good enough for a swim!

the start of the uphill path we tried to bash

a closer view of manarola

the only good thing about attempting to bash? well, we got a nice top-down view of manarola and the surrounding vineyards.

 

 

i just returned from what i seriously consider the best weekend of my italian sojourns thus far. it was a weekend filled with wondrous sights, challenging climbs, good food and wine, and just about the most perfect beach outing that has me seriously contemplating a career as a beach bum. wowzers.

but the beach comes much later – let’s visit the first city along the cinque terre (translates as five lands) trail – riomaggiore, which was the place we stayed for the night. i’m really going to shut up and just let the pictures do (most of) the talking.

the beautiful city and marina of riomaggiore – no sandy beaches here though, but the water is typically crystal clear for most parts

every scene gives one a certain sensation of idllyic carefree-ness. work is pretty much a thousand miles away.

overlooking the main street of riomaggiore, via colombo

riomaggiore connects to the next terre, manarola (which is actually a hamlet of riomaggiore), via a picturesque mountainroad aptly named via dell’ amore (love road). its the earliest of all the paths to walk and correspondingly, the most touristy. and as per all things in italy associated with love, we see tons of padlocks chained to any possible niche or fence along the way.

gee whiz

gee whiz (part 2).

meals here are obviously sea-inspired – and accordingly i chose the spaghetti allo scoglio along with some cinque terre vino bianco. ah, life…

riomaggiore after hours – and yeah, people are still swimming.