elephant grounds

My thoughts start and stop like a crippled…something. I can’t zoom out. I wish I could just hit pause on life and zoom out and take a good long look at where I am, but I can’t. I just need a moment to absorb, to reflect, to understand. I need the world to shut up…

Writers have power, and too few of us know it.

Writers have power, and too few of us know it. We write the world as we see it, fixing things, states, conditions, moments, feelings, thoughts in words. We paint people—but more than artists, we paint their personalities, their emotions, their souls. In a few careless broad strokes, we can render characters of people, making use…

Their Little Nostrils Flaring

I have a confession: sometimes I write to feel significant. Annie Dillard, one of my favourites, once wrote that how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. The funny thing about life is that we feel like we do so much every day, running from item to item on our…

Berries

I go home. I pour an entire cup of single cream down my throat, then dump a tray of berries into the bowl and take an electric mixer to them. Flecks of cream fly everywhere. The raspberries crumble, showing no resistance, and leave smears of pink in the whorls of the white. But the blueberries…

Franze Kafky, Praha 1

Franz Kafka’s dying wish was for every single thing he had ever written to be burnt. Destroyed forever. I don’t think he was being dramatic–apparently he burned over 90% of all his manuscripts over the course of his life. I wonder how much he must have hated himself, to stand there and watch what he…

Retreat? Advance!

At retreats, one generally hopes to ‘retreat’ in order to spend time in solitude and silence, contemplating deep things, reaching out to God, seeking truth. One pictures an idyllic scene in the English countryside; a large 17th-century manor nestled by the lakeside, surrounded by sprawling green grounds. There is no mobile signal, no wireless internet…

Sojourn as Settlers

For someone who hates change, I seem to be pursuing it rather madly. Eighteen and thrust into a new country, new culture, new hemisphere; battling through homesickness—the crippling real deal—and then refusing to come home after ending up in hospital. When health finally forced me to take a semester off, the time it took for…

heartbeat

When I’m lying in bed, everything is still. Except for my heart. It spasms every second or so, sometimes slowing to once every 8,000 milliseconds. It beats in my throat, and I imagine watching my jugular throb. It seizes in my chest, slowly, calmly, regularly. It beats in my stomach, though I can never tell…

twenty-two minutes past midnight

My lovely camera has been feeling rather cooped up in its drawer so I took it out with me last weekend so we could both stretch our legs and appreciate some of the colour in life though our lenses. Can’t decide which I like better. Do I want to keep the sweet bike wheel in…

There is a place no one knows, hidden in the heart of a city; this was written one morning, long ago, when we were lying there on the cool stone surfaces, just being. “We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.” Khalil Gibran

Trafalgar Square by Midnight

When you walk the streets of London looking for a photograph, you see more than you otherwise would. You notice far more than if you were simply trying to get somewhere. Because if something present in your field of vision goes unnoticed, did you really see it after all? And then some days I just…

Autumn Falls

With Brea Salim sending me snapchats like this I can’t help but miss the East Coast fall I never took for granted. The difference between the United States and the United Kingdom is that there, in the fall, the trees burst into flame. Like the most beautiful deciduous swan song, everything comes alive in slow-motion…

The nice thing, she mused, about going where you’ve been before, is knowing where you’re going. She poured down the escalator steps, feet aflutter, hand skimming an invisible barrier that kept her two centimetres from the handrails. Never touch, said Grandmother. Dirty germs strangers hands don’t know where they’ve been. In her other hand she…

Monday Morning Characters

Waves of back-combed platinum blond hair sit atop a buzzed dark brown undercut. His eyebrows are black, as is his soul patch, and he’s got a shiny golden dog collar around his neck. A ripped t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up exposes his pale arms, on which various tattoos dance in blue ink–some Arabic characters,…

Calves on Strike

Hello world. I’ve realised that unless you content yourself with my writing snippets, you’re never going to get a proper comprehensive introduction to the fact that I AM NOW LIVING IN LONDON. I just haven’t had the time (though I’ve definitely had the inclination), and the longer I delay it the longer everything else will…

#alternativeHK: Lamma Island

Lamma Island lies just 20 minutes south of the Central Ferry Pier on Hong Kong Island. Alighting onto a pier lined with hundreds of bicycles, we crept through the hot hot sun in search of shade and a cool drink. Seafood restaurants lined the single path that led from the ferry pier into the island,…

#alternativeHK: The Kowloon Bird Market

Hong Kong, to many, is just another place of good shopping and great eats. The time I spent there, however, introduced me to a Hong Kong that was so much more in so many ways. Emily and I caught lobsters and sunsets, navigating both Causeway Bay on a weekend and the lonely trek to a…

WHIRLWIND EAST JAVA ADVENTURE

(A desperately belated blogpost.) (Guest writer: Emily) It was the summer of 2013, and I was feeling so very young, and so very old. Somehow, somewhen, Emily, Griselda, Stefan and I had tickets booked to Surabaya, East Java, with an intricately planned five-day itinerary by an expert with a degree in hospitality and tourism ;)…

Icarus

6:10 am, I read, as I flip a glance at the digital display blinking on my dashboard. I’m behind the wheel on the open highways of southern Maryland, flirting with the rising sun as it flits between the tall trees speeding past. Warm orange light hits my eyes, sending lens flares across my vision, and…

Friday Getaway Destination Alexandria

Yesterday morning, Anthony and I bundled Steve into a GTI and drove to the next state. After an incredibly hearty Italian meal at a four-star, two-dollar-sign little place with a very happy old Italian waiter, we strolled alongside the river down to Old Town Alexandria.   I was playing with my camera and rather liked…

I Read Selfishly

When I read, I don’t read openly. I don’t read to embrace the ideas and let them interact with mine, to let them blend and bleed into each other like a watercolour trial page, to see if truth emerges. Instead, I read selfishly. I read quickly, greedily, focused inwardly—I read only to find people who…

terror/trust

You wake up from one of those dreams where you can’t remember anything except someone’s face, and there’s that vague sense of grasping for something you can’t reach, something that isn’t yours anymore or maybe never really was. And there’s a profound sense of loss. Fresh loss, like someone suddenly tore a band-aid off your…

ETA: T Plus One Week

I’ve been home for a week now, and it’s slightly disconcerting how the last seven days seem to have dissolved into thin air. It’s an early Sunday morning and we’re about to head to church–except I could’ve sworn it felt like we just went to church three days ago. Where did the week go, and…

forlorn philosophy.

“Philosophy being nothing else but the study of wisdom and truth, it may with reason be expected that those who have spent most time and pains in it should enjoy a greater calm serenity of mind, a greater clearness and evidence of knowledge, and be less disturbed with doubts and difficulties than other men. Yet…

Greee in DCeee

Due to the rigorous demands of academic life (ha), I haven’t had time to go through all the photographs I’ve been (loving) taking. Because I will probably never get around to it (like the majority of my skeletons of blog posts) if I leave it any longer, I shall henceforth select ten, and ONLY ten,…

On Loving Indiscriminately

Image embedded from an old post in 2011. Does trying to be love to people foster dependence? What happens once you are so close; where does it go from there? We spin closer and closer in before realising we must now step lightly away–lightly, but painfully. Why do we crave depth, then distance ourselves? Are…

“Number Fifteen! Are you bleeding?”

“Number fifteen! Are you bleeding?” the referee called out to me. “Um…yeah.” I hesitated before lifting up a hand so he could see the rivulet of dark red that ran from the space between my fingers, then twisted my wrist the other way so he could see the smudge of blood at the base of…

I Love the Smell of Tropical Rain in the Morning

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. My favourite. Rolling out of bed, I flung open all the windows of our upstairs living room then threw myself onto the couch, leaning back and inhaling deeply as the lovely wet smell of tropical rain in the morning flooded the bright, wood-floored space around…

“Let’s draw hipster lines across our faces.”

“Now let’s do a hipster triangle inside an inverted hipster triangle!” “Zhe you didn’t finish your triangle. Also it’s a very circle-y triangle.” Look I got a real lens flare! “Haddon hurry up Haddon quick Haddon before all our sparklers die Haddon!” “WAIT I think I’m in the wrong position, I’m the 4! I’m the…

Blogging Like A Schizo

As some may have noticed, I recently migrated my Georgetown blog, hoyasaxasofie.wordpress.com, over to this original one. Why? Well, as with the bulk of the things I do, don’t hope for a straightforward explanation. The simplest answer I can think to give is that I realised I am not two separate people. My Georgetown blog…

Dear _______, … (backdated)

From the end of my semester off. Dear _______, Forgive me for this letter; I get sentimental sometimes with goodbyes. As I grow up I’m learning that they’re just part of life, part of living and loving and dealing with inevitable change, but that knowledge doesn’t always make it much easier. I’m also learning that…

Why Can’t Goodbyes Be Like Freethrows? (backdated)

I’m home. It feels great. I’m about to crash thanks to the 13 hour time difference, so this will be brief. In the plane I was reading back through old things and starting to get all reflective and stuff, and here’s something written at the end of my semester off that makes for an interesting…

Um.

Maybe I’d be fine if I just stopped reading. Maybe I’d be okay if I kept well away from books. Because otherwise I’m careless and I slip into them. Into characters. Into selves. There’s something in me that’s too restless to stay confined to my one soul. Most times I sense it before it happens,…

The City of Brotherly Love

After a gruelling month of midterms, broken only by the IV Retreat and a surprise visit from Emily, I decided I needed a break. I promptly packed my bags, hopped onto a bus, and left for Philly, inadvertently (well okay to be honest, advertently) creating my own four-day weekend. (Skipping over the part where I…

where is God to be found?

I miss God. I crave His presence. Feeling isn’t everything; I know it’s not about the feelings. But I do so miss feeling; the courage of conviction, the feeling of invincibility singing through my veins, the sheer reckless joy of knowing that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and being who I’m supposed to…

Plato: “Exile the Poets.”

Attached is a (double-spaced) eight-page midterm paper for my political philosophy class that stood at only six pages as of 1:02 am last night. By 1:32 am it was a seven-and-a-half-page paper all cited, quoted up and printed out. For once I handed in a paper formatted in a more…spacious font, haha. (For reference, this…

yeah this city is endless / and i’m, i’m walking alone

here it comes in the morning / i’m just trying to forget / keep it real, keep it simple / somehow just get out of bed You wake up, and it takes you a while to make sense of your surroundings. To recognise your window. Your desk. Your denim jacket flung carelessly over the chair,…

this is a ramble of a post, probably not worth your time or my blogspace.

Classes make me think so much. With my background/history in existential Christian theology (?), I feel like I’ve thought through a lot of these issues, struggled through a lot of these big questions. I listen to materials in class and make links all over the place–yes, that’s a human problem, and here’s the biblical explanation….

Weekend #2: DC and Beyond!

I’m thinking there’s a bunch of stuff I’ve been up to that I want to blog about, but there’s got to be a more interesting way of writing about it instead of retelling. Today I did this. Yesterday I did that. We went to this place and that place; it was fun. We ate this…

I Spend All My Time Feeding Myself

Today I stabbed my pinky with a fork. It broke the skin; there was no blood. This is unimportant, except that I have never used knives so much as in the last three weeks or so, and in my clumsiness have nearly cut myself about a dozen times, so I’m glad it was a fork…

On Democracy

1. What is democracy? Democracy is government by the people, for the people. The underlying principle is that the population of a society should have a say in the way their society is run. Ideally, power is distributed equally among everyone so that each person’s opinion has as much weight as every other person, regardless…

On Religion

Look back on your life. What things you experienced or studied shaped your idea of what religion means? How do you define the term or concept of religion, and where has that understanding come from? In 8th grade I started seriously struggling with the meaning of life. It began in a small-minded, childish way—I kept…

København-Oslo-Bergen-Ålesund and Everything Inbetween

We bounded out of the plane and into the København Lufthavne (Copenhagen Airport) feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. At least, I did. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as good getting off of a plane before. I hate planes. Every single time I sit in one I think about death. Really. It’s 6:10 pm now Singapore…

The Maytrees by Annie Dillard

beautiful, beautiful snippets ♥ She asked herself: Would she rather have his love, or hers for him? Would she rather have Primo himself, guaranteed to love her and only her forever, or would she rather have her love for Primo Dial forever, intact and untainted come who may? Astounded, she realised she would choose her love…

“Dive trips are more fun when you actually go diving.”

Circling the hole with a pointed toe, slowly nudging bits of sand into the abyss, I watch the edges of the precipice crumble into deep nothingness. I have done this before, time and time again. I am transported back to my six year old self, standing alone on the many different beaches that time and…

junk of my mind

29 May I spend my words daily, messaging friends near (Lukas) and far (Emily), and writing in my Book of Days. Is this good? I feel like I’ve been producing less powerful writing. I used to just think and feel and think and feel until it all built up inside of me and finally erupted…

lost and finding life and freedom pt. 1

This was written in mid-March earlier this year. Took a while for me to be ready to post it. Suddenly I’m back here, sitting at home trying to figure out what happened, wondering what I did wrong. I was supposed to go off to university, get a degree and come back all grown up. Why…

Round Two: Amoebic Dysentery

This was written earlier this year in mid-February, shortly after returning to Jakarta just two weeks after I’d left to start my second semester at Georgetown. It’s taken a while to work up the courage to post it, but from the moment I began writing I knew this is what it was for. My philosophy…

She Sat There…

She sat there at the boarding gate, watching people and narrating in her head individual ‘s/he sat there, …’s for each person too polite to stare back at her, dreaming up the details of their lives as if she owned them. He sat there stiffly, looking around with one eyebrow raised, white collar starched a…

Through the Lens of my BB

Today I shall write of the past through the lens of my blackberry, cycling through low-quality, in-the-moment shots. 01/05/2013 8:24 am – Helping my sister set up her Exhibition booth. 01/05/2013 6:12 pm – Baking mini chocolate chip cookies with my sister for her Exhibition. 03/05/2013 2:32 pm – Wearing protective footpads for the first…

e x p a n s e

With no queue, no check-in bags, and my sidik jari streamlining me through immigration autogates, I made it from my car to the gate in literally seven minutes. I swept through the airport like a model on a day off, bohemian genie pants billowing. Pretend, and the world pretends with you. Sitting in Old Town…

midnight and i have been seeing a lot of each other lately.

family spring cleaning day / falling apart at the breaks in schedules / sifting through the junk of my past / a story breathed into each bit and bob / that grows in significance each spring cleaning / it survives. googly eyes of a guerrilla art phase / golf ball from stolen stanford mornings / a get-well-soon…

Koala Loompoor

“He has made all things beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 I feel like a seasoned traveller. Plenty of salt. A business trip turned into a visiting-cousins trip after an immigration commotion forced us to reschedule our trip. I wasn’t complaining. Andrew said it was ‘divine intervention’ so I could go for the Deeper BBQ;…

Too Hip to Hop or Pop Pills

“Have you been watching your weight?” Dr Chee demands, raising an eyebrow. One finger points accusingly at a number scrawled on the topmost page of the thick file she’s just consulted. “…yes,” I squeak, ducking my eyes. She glares at me. “I like my patients to gain weight.” “…sorry?” I offer, meekly. A nurse comes…

These Bruises Make for Better Conversation ♥

This morning I woke up, blinked twice and glanced down sleepily at my feet. I wondered why my right foot was so tanned. Then I realised the whole thing was just one giant bruise stretching across the top of my foot, and cringed, even as a grin spread across my face. Wear your bruises as…

Jakarta Animal Aid Network

Wednesday afternoon we took my sister and friends to JAAN (refer to title of post) as an Exhibition field trip. I’ve always had a heart for animals…a heart I’ve been ignoring for a while now. Call me cynical, but compassion is so impractical. I just haven’t quite figured out what to do with it yet….

The Ache of Familiarity

For a while now, it’s been difficult to find any desk space on my study room desk. Piled high with notebooks, stationery, letters, laptops, library books, paper bags, stuffed toys, cables and chargers, cologne, dead batteries and a 1000-piece Disney jigsaw puzzle (among an assortment of other random stuff), my desk has been in dire…

It Is Monday Night

I officially have four days of TB meds left! This is a big deal when you have lived what I have in the last seven months. This Saturday I will check in for (hopefully) the last time with the TB Control Centre in Singapore and (hopefully) get cleared off two governments’ watchlists (y) My garage…

There is No Such Thing as a Typical Weekend

I haven’t been sleeping well the past few nights. I also wake up with my mind feeling slightly exhausted, like it’s spent the whole night battling depressing thoughts or wrestling with ancient Eastern philosophies or something. So I woke up at 6:33 am Saturday morning with my sinuses acting up. My mind was spinning with…

For This Is My Haunt

Here I sit on the thirteenth step, in the centre of this place I lived and died, unmoving, beholding. A ghost haunting its second home after death has torn it from its loves, a ghost stealing whatever intimacy it can get. We do not often become attached to places, but the memories we store in…

On Writing

Writing is not its own reward. Writing is consolation. Writing is meaning, but not being. Writing is life, but not living. Too much of either and you go overboard.

Sorry for the Dearth of Blogging

Is writing less part of losing my identity? Is thinking less part of losing myself? I wonder more, think less forcefully, avoid coming to conclusions…and so there is less to write about. And so there is less me to be attached to, and more to be consumed by God. I know not what to strive…

A Blank Page

First Sketch A blank page can be a very daunting thing The vastness, the whiteness, threatens to swallow you The utter perfection of its wholeness and blankness Challenges you to mark it with words worth Its despoilment.   It starts with describing. Describing what you’re thinking of, just spitting out your thoughts, thinking of characteristics…

On Swimming and Stars

I don’t want to float through life, I want to swim. Even though I’m an awful swimmer. But then again, so is everyone else. Nobody really knows how to swim, and the few who think they do don’t know where they are swimming to. At the same time, I don’t want to affirm myself by…

old post: on reading

Old post: I can’t read like that. I can’t read a chapter and go about the rest of my day, sit in math class, do history homework, and then open my book and read another two chapters. You can’t get into a book like that.Books, to me, are like movies. You don’t watch movies in…

Life in Writing

I couldn’t spend my whole life writing, sifting through my trash for the gems. I couldn’t live losing myself more and more in abstraction and the swirly, kaleidoscopic world of English. I’d go mad, and lose myself. It’s unhealthy. Or I’d get sick of myself. What is life to me but a series of impressions…

Maybe I’m in Love With Humanity as Expressed Through Literature

I realised that I’m not that into literature. As much as I thought I loved English, I’m not in love with literature. It seems weird that recently I’ve been thinking so much about teaching, about being a professor, about being a writer. And funnily enough, I’ve been seeing a lot more of that in everything…suddenly…

too indie for lau

Today I woke up before the sun peeked over the Georgetown Clocktower and into my room, and began work on question number 5, educating myself on alliance burden sharing theories and trying to figure out why there were so many Polish troops in Afghanistan fighting the USA’s war with such eager abandon. A few hours…

Figurative Post-It Notes

It was 10 degrees outside today and I caught myself feeling happy it was warm. What in the world? I just picked my way through Tolstoy’s religious beliefs (specifically the whole meaning of life thing) while munching on my first Chipotle steak burrito. Both were stimulating (brain juice and tastebuds). I finally got back to…

Thanksgiving

I’d forgotten how nice it was to be surrounded by nice things. Silly things like bendy bedside reading lamps, silky pillow covers with high thread counts, and cushioned desk chairs that spin 360 degrees…you don’t miss those things when you live in all the sparse functionality of dorms, but you do realise they’ve been missed…