- (Finally) Started a French course
- Joined a social committee
- Um, kissed a Spanish guy?
- 2016 wasn't that remarkable in terms of firsts
- Petted a kangaroo!
- Saw penguins!
- Became vegetarian, at least for a few months before returning to Singapore and having Mom screw it all up
- Hung up fairy lights. This list is getting really inane.
- Went to Prague and Sydney
- Met a Tinder guy in a foreign city where I was a tourist just because it's interesting to talk to people
- Co-convened an academic workshop
- Organised a reading group (specifically, Jurisprudence)
- Wrote three academic papers
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Apparently I said that I didn't want to mess around with guys that I shouldn't mess around with. The fact that I dated Dominic for months means that I didn't keep the resolution.
I'm not a new year's resolutions kind of person, but it would be nice to...you know what, I can't even think of anything.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
Czech Republic (Prague), Australia (Melbourne, Sydney), France (Paris), Taiwan (Taipei). It wasn't a great year in terms of travelling.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A relationship with someone that I'm in love with. Some PhD funding would be nice too, but I'm not holding my breath on that front.
7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
That day in October when I checked my email while walking back to Magdalene from Hills Road Tennis Centre (which is 40 minutes away on foot) and saw emails informing me that I'd passed the first year assessment. I was walking through a residential area, the sun was shining brightly, and I suddenly felt so palpably the warmth of the sun on my face. Then I called my folks and told them the good news.
In the same vein, I will always remember the day of the first year viva (I think it was 22 June). An utter disaster. I wanted to cry halfway through. Then I sought comfort in a friend which led to other things. It was one of the worst days not just of 2016, but of my life.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Writing a new first year paper and PhD thesis outline in what was effectively six weeks and making it through to the second year. There is no comparison; that was really the biggest achievement of the year. The intensity of those six weeks in Cambridge, the angst throughout summer, the times I wanted to give up but stubbornly hung on just because I didn't want to fail, hating the process...all I can say is that I am glad that it paid off.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not passing on the first try, but in hindsight, I'm glad I didn't. The resubmission process really forced me to hunker down on what I'm doing. Before that, I really didn't have a fucking clue.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes! I fell while jogging along the Cam and sustained a huge gash on my right wrist. I am very sad that the scar appears to be permament.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Right now, I really think that it's the Calvin Klein coat that I got at 80% off. I am not sure, though, because I haven't worn it yet. I am really excited to go back to Cambridge to wear it!
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
John and Raffie for keeping me sane in Cambridge, and for looking out for me viz. skeevy and unworthy guys (Raffie especially; I love how judgemental he is as it keeps my standards in check!). My parents, as always, for being supportive and awesome.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Some random shitty guys, especially fucking Vlada.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Probably Eurostar after my very generous donation. Apart from that: food, books, and clothes, in this order. (Not counting school fees and rent, etc.)
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to Prague, I guess. I wasn't really that excited about anything this year.
16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
'Scar' by Foxes because I compared her lousy boyfriend to my then-lousy PhD.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
a. This time last year, I didn't know that I wasn't going to pass the first year thing right away, and I was still on a high from getting into Cambridge; additionally, I also had a boyfriend of sorts. But right now, I have a much better idea of what I'm doing, and although I don't have a boyfriend, I would rather this than have a boyfriend of sorts. So I would say I am a bit happier.
b. Definitely fatter. Ugh.
c. Poor as fuck.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I have always answered 'write'. Although I haven't done any writing at all, I don't feel like answering that anymore. Perhaps it is a sign that I am moving on from that. I don't know.
I definitely wish I'd done more travelling, but it turned out to be a worthy sacrifice, so next year then.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time on shitty guys; and for Vlada, wasting time AND money on a shitty guy.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Extended family dinner.
21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Sadly (for D), no.
22. What was your favorite TV programme?
Definitely Orphan Black! Still in love with Tatiana.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone, but V is dead to me, and I dislike a couple of idiots now whom I was on friendly terms with last year.
24. What was the best book you read?
Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. I thought I would like Mrs Dalloway better (because it's more relatable) but To the Lighthouse is complex and rewarding, delving into the psyches of so many different and diverse characters, and although the point of view is often jarring, jumping from one character to the other, the narrative somehow feels fluid, as if the multiple point of view is entirely logical and sensible.
I also really liked A S Byatt's The Matisse Stories. Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited deserves a mention too.
Julian Barnes's The Noise of Time came out in January but it wasn't my favourite. It was very well-written and absorbing, but the political theme did not really appeal to me.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Foxes and Sarah Blasko.
26. What did you want and get?
To pass the first year assessment.
27. What did you want and not get?
The scholarship, but it's fine.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
La La Land was amazing, so I'll go with that.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went to the dentist in the morning and had dinner with my parents or something like this. I was bloody 30. This is depressing!
30. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Passing! That's really the main event of the year, innit?
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Classy, duh. (Unless in Singapore. Too hot to be classy in Singapore.)
32. What kept you sane?
My fear of failure and stubborn refusal to 1) admit defeat; and 2) be told that I can't do something.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Trump. That sums it up.
35. Who did you miss?
My family and friends like Mag and Rui when I was in Cambridge; and John and Raff when I am not in Cambridge.
And also, in a weird way, Kenneth.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
I am not sure.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
You are never too old to be emotionally pressured into sexual acts that you don't want to do by a selfish guy who cares only about his stupid orgasm.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
'Now you're just a scar, a story I tell; an ugly mark but I wear it so well.' - 'Scar', Foxes.