I didn't quite feel like socialising earlier in the day as I was fighting with Arnaud which put me in a very bad mood (to say the least). Still, I made myself go out and meet friends and I think I really needed it. Much as I like my own space, the perpetual solitude, broken only once in a while by calls from my folks or from Arnaud, gets to me after a while, such that sometimes I think I am slowly going crazy - especially when things are not going to plan and I'm down and morose and I sit here and perpetuate these unproductive feelings and shut myself off from the outside world which intensify my feelings of worthlessless and self-loathing. I can get really stupid for someone who is supposed to be the opposite, but c'est la vie, innit?
Paz went on a 24-day trip to Russia by herself recently and it was really interesting hearing about her experience, even more so because I have always wanted to go to Russia. It seems to be a fascinating place where so many things happened in the past, especially in recent history; and my curiosity was further piqued by what she said about how the commercialism and globalisation that I take for granted (for Singapore is the textbook definition of commercialised and globalised) are still fairly new phenomena in Russia - or more specifically, the two cities that she went to, Moscow and St. Petersburg. I want to see a different side of life and how people from a different background live. I've never properly been to an ex-communist country; my brief trip to Ho Chi Minh City with the former Firm didn't really count because we stayed in the Sheraton and did touristy things and it didn't feel authentic at all (also, I hated that place). The closest that I've got to a place where communism used to reside was Berlin and I found its 20th century history endlessly fascinating. I think I would enjoy Russia; all I have to do is to learn some basic Russian words because Paz said that people generally didn't speak English. I might have to prepare myself for the usual "Oh Look An Asian Thing" stares too.
On another note, I have come to realise that I prefer the parts of London that are more rough around the edges and more local to the really sleek, polished, posh places. When I first came here, all I cared about were places like Piccadilly, Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Westminster; but I've slowly discovered a rougher but more authentic side of London - and I have gradually grown to love it. I did not like Old Street at all during my first few months living there; I thought it was messy, dirty, a shithole. I didn't even really like Hoxton which I found too close to East London - and East London isn't the most glamorous place, to say the least.
On a recent trip back to Hoxton with Mag, however, I found myself missing the area. Not only is a there a much wider variety of food compared to where I am currently living, there is something authentic about places like Hoxton and Brixton. The cafes and eateries feel more homely; coffee from locally-opened cafes is generally better than coffee in generic places like Pret; the absence of truckloads of tourists that you'll find in Piccadilly and Oxford Street and Westminster Bridge is a huge plus; and they feel like in-city breaks in their own right, places to take you away from the usual hustle and bustle of life in central London.
I really miss living in Old Street. I still have yet to find my equivalent of Shoreditch Grind (the best coffee I could get within a 5-minute walk from my flat, and one of the best cafes in London) in Edgware Road and I am always at a loss of what to eat when I'm too lazy to cook. I'm also increasingly irritated with the horrendous traffic on Oxford Street which makes taking a bus to Holborn/Aldwych when I need to go to school a complete nightmare, and traffic on Edgware Road is pretty crap as well. I still like it here because I'm very well-connected by Tube, definitely more so than Old Street (only line was Northern Line) and there's a Marks & Spencer at the Tube station which is great because the stuff in the food hall is of superior quality to Tesco which I hate, and even Sainsbury's.
Still - I miss living in Old Street. I miss my free tennis court. I miss Shoreditch Grind. Alas!