Winter 2012 in the Silver City, Part I

Straight out, my timeline is absolute bollocks. For now. I’ll get it sorted out eventually – I still have yet to properly write about spring 2012 and summer 2012 (basically, more or less the whole of 2012; and we’re already almost halfway through 2013), but here’s to backtracking and starting with winter 2012 – when I took a flight back to the UK for my official undergraduate graduation after a good three months or so of lounging around in KL.

(Part of my) flight essentials: My Malaysian passport, boarding passes (including a brief transit in Schiphol, Amsterdam), faux snakeskin-coated iPad, and a copy of Harper’s Bazaar UK for some in-flight reading.

Other items worth mentioning are my earphones – for my very own in-flight playlist, my camera – goes without saying, and of course, my trusty iPhone. I decided to travel light for my long-haul, thirteen-hour flight to the other end of the world (relatively) this time around, which obviously increased my comfort and convenience by about ten whole levels, if not twenty. I’m definitely going to make it a point to travel light from now on, if I can actually help it.

Oh, and did I mention I love flying? More so when I’m flying to, not fro. Some in-flight takes!

A very subtle French manicure, and obsessing over Louis Vuitton’s film still-inspired/storyboard campaign.

Marion Cotillard – now that’s what I call a woman. I do enjoy reading Bazaar’s articles – I love them (along with a number of other publications, including certain independent ones) for posing such intelligent and thought-provoking perspectives on style, art and culture.

I was greatly looking forward to my two weeks – well, one and a half, to be exact – in the UK beforehand as I wanted to sate that all too familiar wanderlust in me, and finally experience the official, once-in-a-lifetime (twice if you choose to pursue a postgraduate degree) convocation of making my first ever mark in the seemingly ruthless adult world. Most of all though, was to see the people I so positively love once again, and spend downright exceptional quality time with them. Because good just doesn’t suffice.

One of the many, many things I love about the UK is the crisp, chilled air, even greater in the north. A significantly stark contrast to the humid, sometimes staggering equatorial climate Malaysia possesses. I was at once enveloped in its now welcomingly familiar (but still bitingly cold) grasp the very second my feet hit Aberdonian ground, and as contrary as it may sound, it absolutely warmed my heart up. It was comforting, and it felt like home. My second home, at least. Mm.

I chatted happily with the taxi driver on the way into the city and beamed as bright as the sun when he remarked on how I was such an open-minded Asian, and one of the very few he’s met who could actually speak proper English. That made my morning even more. Upon arriving, I was greeted by the beau’s even warmer arms – the best place to be, regardless of which country or continent I’m in, the equally as warm laughter of my best friend and her boyfriend – our bona fide couple in crime,

And this. The massive Gatecrasher. Practically a very unconventional, very delicious tradition for us.

It was a lazy day (and night) in of sorts. The flat was warm and toasty with the heating turned all the way up, and we spent the whole time watching films, gaming, and sharing intimate conversations for hours and hours on end; all in a king-sized bed with the four of us snuggled up comfortably under the thick covers, elbow to elbow, all nice and cosy. It was the ultimate leisure lifestyle, and it doesn’t get any better than that. It’s times like these, which make you so incredibly thankful and happy, to have such wonderful people around you and to have all that you have in your life. It makes you sit back, breathe, and appreciate, the beauty in everything and everyone. And I wouldn’t trade them – both the times and the people – for anything in this world.

The second day brought a lot of sunshine to the Silver City, so the four of us took full advantage of it and headed out for a day about town. Most of the city was just as how I so fondly remembered it to be, with its shimmering granite walls and cobblestoned streets, rich with culture and heritage and bustling with activity on a sunlit day – even with its infamous climate. Magic can be found along these quaint streets, when one chooses to actively look for it. We wandered anywhere and everywhere – from browsing high-street stores and their Fall/Winter 2012 drops, to supping steaming hot beverages at a local cafe, to chasing gigantic seagulls along the busiest street in all of Aberdeen.

The three dancing in a high-street store. I think it can be concluded that we dance everywhere.

Chingy and his feline tendencies depicted in various high-street stores. This has been apparent since college.

Another common trait the four of us share is our immense love for food. Particularly good food. Which makes me think that our couple in crime will fare extremely well when we take them around Penang one fine day. Or Southeast Asia in general – a summer promise we’ve actually made between each other, one to be fulfilled in the coming years, with Bangkok first on the list.

We wrapped the night up with good food, good coffee, and a good film after. With good food in mind, we decided to venture further down the busy streets, bordering to the lit-up harbour and past the imposing ships, to the glass and steel emporium that is Union Square, which houses Cosmo, an Asian fusion buffet set in a stylish, contemporary interior which newly opened that fall, serving a variety of pan-Asian gastronomical delights. All of that and more for about fifteen quid – a decent steal if you ask me, as eating out in the UK can cost quite a fair bit. Unless you’re living on takeaway kebabs (they’re amazing, especially past midnight) like every other student in the city, and end up spending most, if not all of your money on Jägerbombs and tequila shots on Wednesday nights. I’m a vodka person though.

(North) Indian curries, yum. The boys (and Mari) went completely carnivorous and loaded up on tonnes and tonnes of meat while I attacked —

— the chocolate fountain. I think I could survive on chocolate-dipped strawberries alone, come to think of it.

After an entire day of wandering around the city centre, all we wanted to do was to sit back and enjoy a film. Preferably with two large boxes of warm caramel popcorn and two large, condensation-drenched Cokes. And perhaps some Ben and Jerry’s as well while we’re at it. So we booked late-night tickets to Skyfall, and since we had plenty of time on our hands before two hours of Bond and his smooth moves, I whipped my camera out for even more picture-taking – partly to compensate for the lack of pictures from the afternoon, and partly well, just because,

Our lovely couple in crime for the week and a half.

I guess they’re still lovely.

And a barrage of the beau and I (thank you for clicking away, Bryan),

He makes me happy. As a matter of fact, they make me happy.

We popped over to Starbucks after a very satisfying (and very filling) dinner to lounge around over hot, post-dinner coffee and tea before heading into the cinema, sharing conversations worth sharing for another hour or so. As per usual. It’s brilliant how the four of us can hardly run out of things to say or talk about, regardless of how long we’ve spent with each other. It’s not something you see around very often these days, so I certainly cherish it to bits.

I didn’t take as many pictures (under my own standards) as I thought I would as I was having such an ace time that I didn’t actually bother taking my camera out as much. Until Edinburgh that is. But that’s a different story – and post – altogether. And that, wraps Part I up. Part II – encompassing a night out at Nox and my official graduation ceremony – is coming up once I’m done editing the pictures!

(the spiked rings on his little finger are mine, in case you were wondering)




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