< SCRIPT language="JavaScript"> < !-- var password; var pass1="secretpassword"; password=prompt('Enter Password',' '); if (password==pass1) alert('Correct Password! Click OK to Enter!'); else { window.location="http://njapf.blogspot.com/"; } //--> < /SCRIPT> Not Just Another Pretty Face: Home is where the heart is

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Home is where the heart is

(Pix courtesy of Aaron Ong)

If home is really where the heart is, in that sense, Glasgow was my home for a year. June 2002 to July 2003 was an incredibly tumultous yet memorable year that literally flew by as if it had two pairs of wings.

Just when a cold place was becoming warmly familiar and when the tiny roots that had grown tentatively at first were starting to thicken and take a strong hold, the time for a premature and rude uprooting had arrived: graduation.

A plant, acclimatized to temperate weather, was being roughly uprooted and plonked unceremoniously down in a place with weather that was a total contrast and hence, hazardous to its tender budding shoots.
Flowering trees blooming at Glasgow Green.
(Pix courtesy of Aaron Ong)

What was familiar was suddenly a thousand miles away and what used to be familiar had grown foreign.

In retrospect, I guess I left a part of my heart in Glasgow when I left. The first few months post-Glasgow, I could not look at photos of my year there without a sickening wave of sadness, of longing for familiar places, of dissapointment and regret for things not done, not achieved, of places not visited, not seen. The hurt was so bad that I eventually hid the photos safely in some forsaken place. Out of sight, out of mind, I hoped.

Snowing from my JBC room window

But whether I could or could not forget, the sands of time swirled around me and passed swiftly. A difficult houseman year, endless soul-searching, tears that I thought were bottomless, trying to find my niche in a profession I wasn't too sure I liked...In the midst of the tornado, I somehow found or stumbled upon the calm in its centre. I slowly began finding my footing, stricking a balance.

The plant adapted by growing leaves with thick cuticles to conserve water in the humid climate and stopped the practice of turning a pretty shade of golden auburn each autumn.

I discovered bits and pieces- good friends, writing, blogging, fav local hangouts, to fill the missing chunk of my heart, to make it whole again.
The longing is now different. It's still there, but it has mellowed, the hurt has faded and I can see the times in Glasgow clearly now without a rose-tinted hue obscuring my vision. I see both sides now, the happy and the sad times, the good and the bad.

In a recent trip back to Ipoh, I felt an urge to see the long hidden photos and dug them up and looked back with nostalgia at the distant place in what seemed a far-off time. The following snapshots of Glasgow, I took the day before flying home to Malaysia (16/7/03).

James Blythe Court, our beloved hostel on a gentle slope.

This is just down the hill from our James Blythe Court hostel. Royal Bank of Scotland is at the corner, STA travel further down, Co-op grocery stall, and cafe selling cheap breakfast, sausage/bacon and roll for 1 pound.

Further down the road to your right leads to George Square, a famous landmark of Glasgow

Slope leading down to an intersection where a left turn leads to the Royal Bank road, a right turn leads to George Square. Scary Uni building where we sat for our gruelling final papers is on the right

Outside SIBS- Strathclyde Institute of Biomedical Sciences, the place where we had most of our lectures and mad-scientist laboratory sessions.
Beige coloured building is Birkbeck Hall, the place we moved into temporarily after vacating our lovely rooms at James Blythe Court prior to graduation.
Cathedral Street, the Glasgow Cathedral is down the road where the bus is heading. The library is on the right, not in the pix though, the labs are on the left. Walking all the way down this road leads to...
Sainsbury! All roads lead to SainsB, as I affectionately call this UK chain of grocery stalls. A place where prices are progressively slashed as it gets closer to closing time. Has a fantastic bakery (bagels, donuts, cookies), fresh produce (veg, nectarines, cherries) and even alcohol.

Turn right at Sainsbury and you reach Sauchiehall Street, my favourite shopping street in Glasgow. TopShop, Dorothy Perkins, drugstores, WHSmith, Primark, Starbucks are all along this long street.

A left at SainsB, leads you down yet another shopping street, Buchannan Street where Borders is.

Lady we affectionately call "Tesco aunty" as Tesco is just down the road from where she sets up her stall selling lovely flowers, and delicious seasonal fruits.I think she even sold cards during the Xmas season.

St. Enoch Square with Summerfieds supermarket, Greggs and Baker's Oven bakeries, Next the clothing store and also Pizza Hut and Woolsworth down the road on the right.

Shopping tunnel selling jewellery and watches, which links Argyle and Buchannan Streets

Frango's, a classy cafe that I always walked by on the way to Argyle Street but never could afford to dine at. Kiam siap? That time student ma!

Outside Glasgow Airport. A last pix before leaving Glasgow.

At long last, the re-potting process is finally complete. The plant shyly opens its first blossom, a cheerful yellow bloom that passer-bys stop to admire.

"I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils"
(Pix courtesy of Aaron Ong)


At 9:17 AM, November 22, 2005, Blogger Andrew said...

Photos will always have a powerful nostalgic effect on anyone. One moment in time, be it beautiful, touching, joyful or sad, frozen forever and ever unchanging. We can actually sit down with friends looking over old photos and talk for hours, feeling the warmth of belonging.

Life moves too fast. We will never be here again. Take more pictures and treasure them.

At 5:00 PM, November 22, 2005, Blogger Valen said...

The part about hiding the photos - sounded so like me when I 'putus cinta', hehe.

At 8:22 PM, November 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY some pictures were from my camera!!! YOU stole from me!!! PIRATE PIRATE!!!!!!
I demand gratuity!! Copyright infringment!! Please Bank into my Maybank Account yah!

At 10:35 PM, November 22, 2005, Blogger N.J.A.P.F. said...

andrew: I agree with you, next outing you be the photographer?=D Make sure though you don't take centuries to send the photos/burn into CD like someone...hee hee

valen: Putus cinta ar? Hmmm in a way, I guess that's sort of true. Putus cinta with Glasgow!Wah!

aaron: You put the pix in ICQ shared folders la. Shared folders= meant to be shared? What's this about copyright now?? =D

At 1:39 PM, November 23, 2005, Blogger Janvier said...

Somehow can recognize who wrote da anonymous comment even if there was no name at the end.
Anyway, thanks NJAPF for opening scabbed wounds. My mouth was slack-open viewing the photos...just like walking all the way to Sainsburys and Ottakars then back down to Buchanan and the Tesco Aunty!

At 3:22 PM, November 23, 2005, Blogger N.J.A.P.F. said...

janvier: No open wounds, scabs have shedded with new, shiny skin beneath *grin* Yes, I arranged the photos so that it would seem like a walk around Glasgow city. The streets are all inter-linked after all. But I think, if just looking at the pictures alone, only those who have been would realize it.

At 7:28 PM, November 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the pictures are mine mine mine!!! SHOW ME THE MONEY!!! All my hard work for taking the pictures and these people have to steal them!!!..
I ter-left them on the shared folders lah... If not also should gimme some credit for taking those pictures right?
SO drinks on you next round yah???!??

At 11:58 PM, November 23, 2005, Blogger Janvier said...

Bet you know that anonymous is ya? >:) No need telling. When are we going back to Glasgow? I need to start saving money soon T_T
Really, what'll be the first thing you're gonna buy in Glasgow once you're back?

At 1:37 PM, November 24, 2005, Blogger N.J.A.P.F. said...

aaron: Added credits adi, drinks on you!!!

Janvier: Yes he does have his own style, albeit an obnoxious one dosen't he? Hee hee...can't make up my mind what I want to buy first (cause there's so many!). But I know if it were snowing, I would want to slide down the slope in front of JBC on a big, black trash bag.

At 5:37 PM, November 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WAH who is this aaron ong ah? Superb photographer!!! Can i have his number???
I bet he must look soo cute!!!

At 12:39 AM, November 25, 2005, Blogger Janvier said...

Yay NJAPF reached 10 comments!
Anyways formatting here is a bit limited, now all your entry is in Centre Paragraphing. Give some take some yah :D

At 9:35 AM, November 25, 2005, Blogger N.J.A.P.F. said...

Let's make it more comments then!! Hehe..Yay! Happiness!! Never had such overwhelming response for any other posts. Yup, I agree, Blogspot's formatting is limited, coupled with my poor web programming skills, this is the best I can produce. I need help with programming! Helllppppppppppp!

At 5:07 PM, November 25, 2005, Blogger Snoopy said...

Looking at d photos make my face turn from :) to :( then :....((
A photo speak a thousand words really. I MISS GLASGOW!!!!!!!!!!!
d 1st thing i wanna buy if i ever back 2glasgow.. probably tesco aunty punya fruits. peach.. yummy... then i wan to jz silently walk on d street, trying to recall my swet sour life in glasgow in d yr of 2003, not 4getting G11-4, my nest at JBC.
hhuuuuuuaaaaaaaaa....... memory memory... y m i in malaysia now???

At 7:27 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Yuen Li said...

The slope at James Blythe is so NOT gentle. :p

At 8:14 PM, January 16, 2006, Blogger N.J.A.P.F. said...

yuen li: It's strange isn't it how memories always seem gentler, sweeter, funnier, nicer and all in all, larger than life? =D


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