Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Looking ahead

I figured it's not healthy to bottle things up. So this blog post is more of an outlet, than reading material - that's the only reason I'm writing this blog post.

Anyway, with the health warnings out of the way, let's begin.

I didn't get onto the PhD programme I applied for.

Which is a shame. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, since I only sent one application and did not look elsewhere. (And to be fair, I never assumed the PhD was a 100% in-the-bag thing). As it turns out, it was down to the lack of willing, able and available supervisors at the institution that shall go un-named (those who know me already know which one I am referring to, of course).

I was warned that this was possibly going to happen. And I should have listened. But I was warned in March 2014, when I completed and submitted my application in February 2014. I did not have time to prepare other applications, and even if I did, the deadlines for funding had long gone by March in some cases. So, really, there was nothing I could have done in 2013/2014, to apply for a programme which commences in 2014/2015.

The last year, I've been (very seriously) considering settling in the UK – by the time I finish my PhD, I would have been here for 9 years. If I get a 1-year extension on my visa and/or a teaching contract, I might be able to apply to settle after I(that's my understanding of the visa rules, anyway). Even if I didn't meet the 10-year rule, I figured my 4 years here might let me meet people here that I can start a family with.

In any case, I now find myself in a rather scary situation where I don't know what to do next. Or am I? Because I went into the application process, knowing that at the back of my mind, I've always had a back-up option. Admittedly, it's one I have been running away from, but it's one that has always been there – going back to Jakarta to help the family.

My whole life has been one where I am uprooted from one nation to another every few years – first, when I was 6, I left my kindergarten classmates to move to Singapore. When I was there, I switched school after 1 year because I was moving to live with my mum's friend. I only felt comfortable when I got to stay at St. Andrew's from Primary/Junior to Secondary School, but then the "uprooting" happened again when my folks have had enough of me living in Singapore with my guardians. Brighton, Exeter, London – I made, lost, and remade connections over the 5+ years in these 3 cities. It felt strange to think that I'm now living with a friend whom I met in Brighton. Or that I still keep in touch with friends I met in Exeter.

If the last few days, I seem as if I'm more "in-the-shell" and less interested in things, I'm really sorry. Perhaps it's just separation anxiety - I've experience it a couple of times now. And perhaps I'm nervous. Nervous that I'm about to move into a country which I claim to be where I'm from, but have absolutely no other connection with.

People tell me that they're jealous of me because I get to experience all these things, studying abroad. The downside is often an untold one (and often an ignored one, because they tend to only affect spoilt brats like myself, I guess). You spend so long in other places, when you come "home", you have no friends or contacts apart from your family, your family's friends, and those you meet at work, or while you were abroad (this bit, I'm not exaggerating - my only real Indonesian friend is probably Josh Irwandi).

It's going to be interesting to see how the next few months pan out. I'm scared. Of course I am. But then again, as my mum kept telling me (mind you, she really wants me to return home to Indonesia), I probably felt the same when I first moved to the UK. And look where things have gone.

Times like this make me realise how thankful I should be for all the friends I've had over the years. I've been really fortunate to meet some interesting people along the journey, and whilst I can't lie about "never forgetting any of you" (because my memory's recently been tested - and proven to have failed), I definitely cherish them like I cherish a really good wine - in the moment, because you know it'll end at some point, until the next time round, assuming there is a next round.

And whilst I feel sometimes like I'm losing touch with my faith (for a number of reasons, I've felt let down over the last few years - but I really don't want to discuss this here/now), I've grown up with the belief that God holds the future in his hands. And I'm glad He does, even in the darkest, most uncertain of times, to give the sense of a safety net.

If this post hasn't made any sense, I did say - this is just an outlet for me. But I'm just glad I've managed to organise my thoughts (admittedly, in a very 2004 way). And to be honest, I don't care if people know how I'm feeling right now. Like I told my friend Robin last week - don't feel sorry for me, because I'm not in the worst position out of everyone you know. I'll be fine, because I'm fortunate that way. I'm bruised in some ways, but t'is but a minor scuff, really. And yes, I'm being a drama queen, but seriously, what did you expect from a blog?

Enough chatter. Let's just get this done and over with*.

* By 'this', I mean life. And by 'done', I mean going through the different stages in life, not (as I suspect some of you might be thinking) bringing it to a halt (oh, come on, suicide is selfish and pointless anyway).

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