Singapore, February 2018

Had a brief walk around Marina Bay in Singapore. My third time in Singapore – last time was a few years ago and the first was back in 1996 when it was a completely different place.

It was great walking around and remembering various little details that I forgot since my last visit.  For example, my first ‘post-plane’ meal (I was on a sandwich and breakfast bars for about 13 hours!) was in the same area that I had my last meal.  And this awesome hawker market was near Dhoby Gaut station, a station that I forgot until I was soon facing in front of the sign at the MRT. Oh, and when I first entered Marina Sands to go to a conference and remembering the little signage taking me there.

I only documented a few photos from my last trip.  And this recent trip was very short also before I needed to catch another flight.

I love the architecture and the little details that are in Marina Bay Sands.  They had an art installation set up outside to add golden wheat ‘fields’ in front of the mall:

This is one of my favorite places to sit down and relax a bit.  There are some bars and restaurants dotted on the outside and I remember relaxing for a couple of hours with a cold lychee beer last time.  This time around, I paused for a bit to take this photo:

They also had a new museum that I’ve noticed but I didn’t go inside called the Red Dot Museum. ‘Red dot’ or ‘little red dot’ is actually a reference to Singapore:

One item I missed out on my last visit was to walk all the way to the Parkland to these large ‘tree-like’ structures.  There were also numerous other museums and more tourist attractions in this area:

Overall, I had a nice stopover in Singapore and would love to come back again for another visit!  This time around I only had time to go around Marina Bay and not the other places like Chinatown, which is another area that I recommend.

How time flies, moving away, reality vs planning

How time flies.

I remember this time last year.  Still living in Dublin, and making my plans moving to Berlin.  My time in Dublin was soon coming to an end (I could only technically work there for a maximum of 6 months). It was a complete whirlwind of going through being sick, starting new professional commitments and going through all the motions of moving to a new country.  I made friends and caught up with family, did not do as much travelling around Ireland as I had wanted to, very busy with a new job and studying for certificates. Dublin was still fairly cold and rainy. I didn’t have much expectations moving to Berlin, only that I expected to get really involved with a lot of tech events and soaking up the culture, history and language here.

My apartment in Berlin has those huge windows and my room has a balcony, so plenty of sunshine coming through.  The heater is still on (it was snowing a bit recently) but with the warmth and sunshine, I almost feel like I am back in Brisbane, Australia.  I’m looking at the array of items in my room.  The printer that I am planning to give away to a neighbour.  The various beauty, skin, hair products that I am planning to bunch up to a female friend and give away.  The pile of books in which I may only be able to take a few and give away or recycle the rest.  The plastic bag filled with various electronics and adapters from various regions – Canada, the UK, Australia, now European adapters.  The clothes that I’ll need to wash.  And so on.  Half of my mind is making off lists and things to do for the time being (and things that I can’t do and must delay) and the other half just wants to savor each day that I have left here.

I want to stay in Germany.  And I did plan to stay in Germany. In October, I decided that I’d go for a longer lease at this apartment and marked down which day I need to go to the Ausländerbehörde.  I just want to have more time – to settle in, go out and make new friends, practice the language even more.  But then, I looked at my planning board.  I looked at the map of Europe.  While my perspective and world has managed to pinpoint itself into this city, I though about all the other places that I could be in.  That I also want to fly home for a bit, back to Australia, since a week or two with family wasn’t enough.  There are some things that I want to do back home. See friends that I haven’t seen for many years (and probably won’t be seeing once I leave again).  And I still have a few more countries left to be able to live in as part of the WHV arrangement.  If I decided to reside here longer, then who knows if I am able to live in those countries?  And thus, planning has persisted.

And, here I am.  A part of me is sad at the act of leaving. Even if I am back in Australia for a few months and that I also have plans to move to Europe (France this time around) I still can’t shake off the feeling of potentially not being able to come back.  Like this feeling of being on quicksand, constantly, every day.  I really like those moments when it was just a normal type of day and feeling of being settled.

Asterix & Obelix, and Tintin

Back when I was young, we only had libraries where we could borrow books.  One day, I happened upon comics and from there on grew my love for Asterix and Obelisk and the Tintin comics series.  This was in Australia, in my home town. And their exploits captured my imagination.

In my walk around the city centre, I noticed quiet a few shops and storefronts specializing in the art of comics and cartoons like the above.

There was a Tintin museum (above) which was more like a fancy memorabilia and gift shop selling shirts, calendars, postcards, stationary, art and more.  I picked up a postcard and also a folder.

What I didn’t realize until much, much later on (in my mid 20s) was that Tintin was a Belgian creation, and Asterix and Obelisk were French. Obviously, I was reading the English translations when I was young.  I would love to one day be able to read the originals!


FOSDEM 2018, trip to Bruxelles

FOSDEM was not the first free and open source event that I have been to, but it’s my first major one for Europe!

When I attended LibrePlanet in Boston a couple of years ago, I made a mistake of having a really tight schedule which meant that I barely spent enough time to explore Boston. This time around, I made sure to have plenty of time to explore Brussels and also attend the conference.

My only wish was that I was better at scheduling. On my first morning, I did a walking tour and the second walking tour was cancelled due to low numbers. I ended up wandering around the city centre on the first day.

My second day was at ULB (pictured above) for FOSDEM.  I arrived in time to catch the talks after 12 noon, browse through the stalls a bit.  Top talk was end of the day with Meltdown/Spectre by Jon Masters from Red Hat.

One thing about going to cons is that I’ve found it hard to talk to and meet new people. I’ve noticed many people there either already knew each other or they were in groups.

Many people left after FOSDEM so there was nothing much on (note to self: try to arrive a day or two early instead). On my final day, I had a late flight and wandered around Bruxelles including spending a good hour in one of the chocolate cafes.

I had a leisurely time – unfortunately I wasn’t prepared for the cold, my legs were getting a bit numb from walking around all day for the past three days and I really didn’t feel like going inside any museums.  This is the part where I wish I was better at scheduling as the weather was considerably better so I could have instead gone to the conference over the weekend and did my walking tours on this day.  At the very least, it was better than my scheduling at Boston as this time around I did have plenty of time to go sightseeing around the city!

Bruxelles was definitely a fitting destination to go to before my move out of Germany for some time back in Australia.