Today I went swimming. It was a big deal for me because I don’t like being in the water that much. I can give you many reasons for my dislike of water. My hair is very long and thick so it takes ages to wash and dry after it gets wet in the pool. An absolutely legitimate reason! Here is another one: I get itchy legs whenever I get out of the water. It is real, I am not just making it up! I have the itchiness for years and yesterday I even looked it up on the internet.
Also, well, the main reason is that I can’t swim. I’ve had several attempts to learn throughout the years. Many people, including good friends and a concerning partner, have tried to teach me too. But the result has not been quite great.
When I was 17, I had nearly drowned in the sea so I have carried with me the fear of not being able to get air inside my lung while getting salt water instead.
But a decade has passed me by, I should really get over it. So here I come children’s swimming pool 😀
Today, I did one length without stopping for the first time. I still refused to swim to the deep end (yeah, still a chicken) but I will try next time. Promise!
Today the sun was out for the first time in a week. After seven days long of everything from torrential rains to intermittent drizzle, the sky was finally blue again and the temperature went up to the ideal degree for sunbathing: 25.
Our plants seem to stand up highly and straighter to absorb the long overdue sunlight. Even the fragile coriander plants didn’t seem to mind the sun so much. I guess they had to seize the moment before it goes for another week or two.
I knew that I needed to do the same. So after spraying all the plants with plenty of water, I unfolded the deck chair and undressed (not totally, don’t worry). Normally I am not massive on sunbathing, unlike my bf who grew up being deprived of good weather. “This is for a change”, I thought.
Today I was knackered. A week of long-hour working days and intermittent meals finally took its toll. The rain didn’t exactly help because it took away my chance to run outside.
I laid flat on the deck chair like a lazy kitten, squinted at the kindle screen while soaking in the heat. My thoughts wandered off now and then when I felt the weight of the kindle and realised how weak I was. Why did I let myself so burned out? I knew this would be the consequence, but I had stubbornly ignored all the sensible voices.
The book started to get even more intense. This chapter is about the activists in America and Europe who blocked construction sites for new fossil fuel mines using various methods from building tree houses to putting themselves into the pre-installing pipes. Many had started their demonstrations peacefully until the police threw gas canisters or similar things at the crowd. Still, they kept fighting for their pristine forests and the source of life for their children and their cattle: fresh water. I put down the kindle, took some notes then stepped inside, opened the tap for some water. It was refreshing. It was quite a luxury actually, when you come to think of it.
I went to the airport today to pick up my boyfriend. I was excited, of course.
But truth to be told, the airport often makes me nervous.
There is something uneasy about travellers hurrying around in big suitcases. “Will they make it in time? Do they forget anything? Will the wind be kind and gentle when their plane takes off?”
All around Schipol, the lights from high-end shops feels too commercially fake. The announcement prompting passengers to stick to official taxis reminds me of unpleasant memories being tricked in a foreign country.
Then there is almost always a wait in front of arrival gate when my heart jumps each time the double door slides open and slumps when the people appearing aren’t my loved one. It’s always worth the wait and the journey but somewhere down the line I wish it could have been easier.
When I was a little, I made many dresses for my only doll out of pieces of torn pillowcase. They weren’t like amazing outfits for my doll, but they gave me so much joy. But I had never thought of venturing beyond the toy-clothing domain until my undergrad years. One of my classmates was this girl who always dressed with style. We were very different, but we were in a group of four and the other two sort of put us together. One day, this girl showed me a pair of shorts that she made from altering old jeans. I don’t remember how they looked exactly, but they must have been really good because they blew my mind to the point that I decided I would try myself. I have all those experiences with the doll’s dresses, haven’t I?
It only took me about 10 years to actually do it. If this is not an example of procrastinating, nothing other else is. The one thing that has made a difference is this to-do list that I am using.
This is not the first time I’ve tried a to-do list app. My boyfriend lives by lists. He has a list for everything from Xmas presents for the next five years to travelling ideas for the rest of our lives. In a shorter term, he has reminders for listed tasks that vary from the next five minutes to the next ten hours. Then there are the shopping list, the movies-to-watch list, the list of healthy and unhealthy recipes… Well, I think you get the idea.
And my boyfriend is very enthusiastic when it comes to things he believes in. So he would sit you down, hold your hand, look into your eyes and tell you about lists. As stubborn as I am, I have surrendered in various occasions and ended up trying a few list apps now and then. But I really stick to this one (called Wunderlist by the way). Now I’ve formed a habit of putting most tasks into the list, setting a schedule, arranging for reminders and push notifications.
I am still a massive procrastinator because some tasks are still pushed back a few days or a week. But once I put a task there and see it on the day that I would like it to be done, it feels more concrete. Gradually, the urge of ticking off all tasks for the day forces the habit. There have been more and more days like today when I’ve finished them all, including shortening my jeans. And who knows, maybe summer is not quite over yet.