Alas, I am sitting here right now and it's 11.31 p.m. and I'd just woken up from a one-hour nap and my stomach is feeling queasy again and I feel so tired. I am confused by my appetite's PMSing ways - one moment I'd be suitably hungry that it fools me into thinking that I can eat normally again, and the next moment, i.e. after I eat normally, I feel sick again. I thought I was hungry tonight so I cooked fake Singapore beehoon, the type all over London cooked with curry powder, but I couldn't finish it (couldn't finish the mee goreng I cooked for lunch yesterday) and now I'm feeling rather queasy and really, really tired. Honestly, I don't give a shit about getting free healthcare. I am used to paying for medical treatment and if truth be told, I don't trust the quality of free healthcare not just in England, but anywhere; in fact, anything free automatically puts me on guard as to its quality. I am still amazed that the woman at the reception at the medical centre turned me away because I wasn't registered with the NHS. I mean, what the hell? What if I had been really sick that day? What if I had died on the way back? More importantly, why the hell haven't they emailed me?! It's been at least a week since my registration.
In other news, I was at Borough Market this afternoon where I was supposed to meet my aunt for lunch but I couldn't find her and I couldn't call her Singapore number because I don't have any credits in my giffgaff account, so I had a random garlic prawn wrap from a random place. It was really good and it was the first time since my dim sum lunch with Paul (the Dip Sing guy) a couple of months back when I had fresh prawns and it was amazing. I had some time to kill, so I decided to join the queue for London's most famous coffee - Monmouth Coffee.
I mean, yeah, it's better than Starbucks and Pret a Manger (which is the only major chain-cafe that I get coffee from and even then, I only drink their latte; their flat white is a fucking insult to the real flat white) and yeah, I suppose it's better than Shoreditch Grind, the independent cafe closest to me; and yeah, it was pretty good. But was it mind-blowing? Did it live up to the hype? Did it explain and justify the long queue that's always outside the cafe? No, no, no. It was exactly like my 65 essay: it was good but not excellent.
I don't know how to explain it. It was a variety of things: It wasn't fragrant enough; the bitter aftertaste was a bit too strong; he cup was a bit too small for £2.35. I was massively disappointed; I was expecting to be blown away by this super famous coffee. Alas, it simply didn't live up to the hype. The independent cafe near the school that I stumbled upon last week (Wild & Coffee company - it's a really, really small and old-fashioned cafe whose owner plays classical music; specifically, opera) has better coffee and it's a bit cheaper, and it advertises itself as using Monmouth coffee. That was mostly why I decided to try it and I really liked it, but the actual Monmouth coffee was just so blah.
The worst part was that I felt sick after that. I felt slightly nauseous and it was getting colder and I left my hall wearing a short-sleeve dress and my Dorothy Perkins biker jacket (which isn't very warm for winter just by itself) and a random scarf, so I started feeling quite cold too; and spending a couple of hours outdoors probably didn't help very much. I was wondering whether I should go to Angel and walk around since I really loved it when I was there with my Swiss-German and German friends for an evening movie a few weeks ago and I wanted to see what it was like in the day...but it was just too fucking cold. If I had worn an extra layer or worn warmer tights, maybe I could have withstood the cold; but it was not to be.
I am trying to finish Ian McEwan's "Sweet Tooth" before I fly home on Monday evening just to avoid the hassle of lugging this hardcover book home and perhaps back to London again (or not). There are at least 4 books that I will have to bring home; three of which are mercifully not very thick, but I might have to bring those back, plus a 1,000-page book...maybe, maybe not. I probably will. I don't know yet. There's also this Kant textbook that I haven't even bought; hopefully I'll remember to go to a Waterstone's (Waterstones? Waterstones'?) tomorrow and pick it up. It is really important because I'm thinking of writing the Jurisprudence essay on Kant and obviously I need to know what he's talking about before I even begin to think of a possible topic, so yeah, I think I should buy the book sooner rather than later. (I could have photocopied the assigned pages before I returned the book to the library, but honestly, I was too lazy to do that. I hate photocopying.)
Regarding the novel, I don't think first person narration suits McEwan as well as the third person point of view. I'm pretty disappointed that this novel isn't his usual style because the only thing that I've consistently liked about his novels is his writing style; his actual stories, and specifically their conclusions, have left me cold more often than not. This book is readable and I am enjoying it but it's a bit underwhelming so far.
I really have to FINALLY organise the huge pile of readings that's literally stashed in one compartment on my shelf, which I haven't filed because I don't have a hole puncher, and I don't have a hole puncher because I refuse to buy one here and yes, I will be bringing my hole puncher from Singapore; and it's getting pretty late so I should get on with this entry.
I had a really nice evening/night with a few friends yesterday. We had dinner in a Thai restaurant in Covent Garden (Cordelia, the Swiss-German, seems to love Thai food; the last time we had dinner, she suggested Thai too) and I was the last to arrive because I took my time, as usual, going to school first to return my books. It was a party of 8 and I was the only Asian; there were two Swiss-Germans, one German, one Belgian, one American and one blond girl that I didn't know. I'm totally used to this by now and it goes a long way to explain why I have developed a strange accent that I find myself subconsciously using even when speaking to my Malaysian coursemate.
We went to a pub on Fleet Street that was the old Bank of England after dinner, as the cabaret place that used to be a public male toilet was full. The American guy told me that he lived in Singapore for the first 10 years of his life and it turned out that he lived in Toh Tuck, which is really near my house. It will never cease to amaze me how small the world can be despite how massive it really is - even when I'm miles away from home, invariably, I come across certain connections to home, the ones that I least expect.
What I found more interesting, however, was his answer when I asked him what he thought of the proportionality test. He's in my Theory class and our professor (from now on, I will call him Dr K) basically said that Europe uses proportionality analysis and the US doesn't. Surprisingly - or maybe not - he said that the US Supreme Court uses some sort of balancing too in its constitutional cases, though it's not spelled out in the same 4-stage test that the ECtHR adopts. He said something about the rational basis test for a certain class of cases and the strict scrutiny test for other kinds of cases. This may be helpful when I wreck my brain further for an essay topic. In any case, we both agreed that Dr K is super Euro-centric but it's good to learn from someone who's an expert in a particular field.
An aside: I know that I keep talking about this course, and there's a good reason for it. I am fucking obsessed. I literally fell asleep thinking about my essay after doing a bit of research at 3 a.m. and I literally woke up thinking about my essay. I thought about it too at intermittent intervals throughout the day but thankfully I presently have more important things to think about, like what the hell to buy for people at home (if any at all...frankly, I'm feeling really lazy). I am absolutely committed to writing the best essay of my entire fucking life because I'm giving up the dissertation, so I'd better have something incredible to show for it at the end of everything. The logic isn't immediately obvious here but trust me, there is a logic, warped as it is, somewhere in that incoherent mess of words.
Anyway, we went back to the cabaret ex-male public toilet place at about 11 p.m. to see if we could get in. Julian - the German guy whose idea it was to go there - raved about its cocktails and I basically didn't know anything about the place until Vlada (my Serbian friend) told me that he looked it up online and found out that it was some sort of cabaret thingy. So interesting, right? We got in and it was so cramped and stuffy; I could barely move my arms to remove my jacket. I ordered this drink called London Calling - obviously attracted by the name and its ingredients were grapes, honey and mint (Vlada asked me what was in my drink and I said those three things, and he was like, "It's a virgin cocktail?", which made me realise that he was asking about the type of alchohol that it contained; I said, "Ummm I don't know, gin?" and he laughed at me). It wasn't as delicious as its description made it to sound. The "cabaret" wasn't really much of one; there was a man who sang, a scantily-clad, white-as-a-sheet blonde who played the keyboard really well (it was a Romantic piece - Rachmaninov or Chopin; couldn't remember) and took off her clothes at the same time with the important bits covered, another woman in a corset costume that sang really well, and the white-as-a-sheet blonde with a performance that they termed 'burlesque', wearing a very tiny white thong. After the white-as-a-sheet blonde's first performance, Vlada asked why us girls were so interested in the performance, and I said, "I'm curious!" He joked, "Bi-curious?" I rolled my eyes at him and wanted to affirm that in part, but decided against it. (White-as-a-sheet blonde was pretty hot. Just for the record.)
I liked it for its novelty. The drink was really expensive - close to £10 - but it was different from the usual places that I've been to. Above all else, what made the evening/night so wonderful was the company: talking to the American guy about constitutionalism, then talking to Cordelia and Sina (the German girl) about girly things and lousy teachers at the LSE (yes, they do exist) and regretting some course choices and Sina assured me that there was nothing wrong with not doing a dissertation which made me feel better, walking past the beautiful, beautiful Royal Courts of Justice on the way to the cabaret place and joking about booking the place for an LL.M. event, and ending the night at the cabaret place where I experienced something different...
Yes, I love my life in London. I got off my bus a few stops early and walked back to my hall. The night was comfortably cold, and I felt really happy.