Postcard from Edinburgh



As the bus turns left from the East end of Princes Street, a macabre scene bleeds into one’s periphery like an incoming raincloud. The passengers look up out of the blindness of their touch-screens and crane their necks by the window-glass.

It can’t be. He was immortal…

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Yé Ye | 爷爷 | Grandpa

He was a lone traveller, a truly gentle man, who had nearly lost all his teeth. He sat at the back of the bus, hardly spoke, and often wandered away all by himself. When he did speak it was a dialect that nobody could understand.




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Tuesday 19 July 2016: Too hot to sleep


“I am burning, I am burning … “

Well, thank you London, for showing me you’re capable of producing summer, but I am not sure if I can handle it.

Today I was stuck to the Tube, or more specifically to the millions of green and blue poly-fibres sprouting vertically from my grimy seat, which always cause unexpected yet significant discomfort against the bare skin of my thighs if I happen to be wearing shorts or a skirt shorter than knee-length. All these tiny sticks of plastic pointed and poised defiantly on my skin, irritating it slowly but surely, burning as the sun does as you walk about nonchalantly, gently going about its job as a minor disappointment in my perfectly decent life. Continue reading

Trouble in Beijing

Date: 7th August 2015
Local time: unknown
Location: A380 Airbus

It all began when I woke up in my auntie’s flat to a rainstorm. The time was 17:05, and I had overslept thanks to my grandmother who thought it better to let me sleep than be back at the hotel in time. A week had passed since the orchestra touched down in China, and somehow it was time to go, even though nobody wished it. A fourth concert please, we begged in our sleep.

In auntie’s car we drove up and out of the car park, beeping people out of the entrance who were hiding from the rain. A little girl under a link umbrella shouted “It’s hailing, it’s hailing!” And so it was, my auntie whispered, bemused and confused. How sweet of her to warn us. Continue reading

Life in a Suitcase: Canada, VSOIW 2015

Greetings from Whistler, Canada!

I’ve just returned from a full orchestra rehearsal at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Institute, and have chosen to blog over another early night in my plush queen-size bed. The rehearsal ended at 10pm by the way, AND I still feel the pull of an 8-hour jet lag.


We are playing Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (Ballet Suites) and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Here’s a photo from the VSOIW Instagram account – I’m the one sitting closest to the lens at desk 5, ‘suicide corner’, and I am loving it there. I feel like God and can see everything but without any tremendous powers.

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First year is over: FREEDOM FOR FOUR MONTHS

I have been released.

How to describe the moment I left the exam hall? It’s a mixture of the following two clips.

Watch from the beginning of the clip to experience the journey of this year.
Then skip to 1:37 if you get bored of it.

Watch from 1:40:25


No more late nights at the library, unhealthy diets and panic attacks.

No more irritating people in the silent library zones. One of them was oblivious to the fact that his nose made a wheezy sound whenever he inhaled and exhaled.


No more sights of people studying hardcore. The diagrams, textbooks and glum faces gave me one too many nervous pangs.



I’m not sure how to continue this post.

It’s been a while since I did anything human.

I’ve been living in a cave.

A little bit like Howl’s room:

But less dreamy and romantic.

Add a few dusty surfaces, smelly shoes and discarded plates – an overflowing laundry basket on the side.

A tower of books on my floor. A suitcase from a month ago.

I haven’t even touched my violin since NYO.

The muscles won’t know which way to push and pull.

The hands will ache during the first few practice sessions, but it will be okay.

I can have violin lessons again too.

My first rehearsal of the summer is on Tuesday evening. So many concerts to come, never mind a tour to Belgium. We even have t-shirts and stickers.

I can start on KCL Bar Society stuff. Updating the website, thinking up new pieces for the newsletter. I can contact a few lawyers and arrange some meetings.

I can plan my summer! I have so many things I want to do.

I want to read literature again.

I want to find a summer job for a bit, maybe.

I want to start watching French films and restart my mission to learn more Chinese.

I want to swim.

I wanna go back home to Edinburgh for a bit.

Meanwhile moving into a new house for next year!

I have a huge backlog of social activity to catch up on. I’m referring to the negative space during exam time, and also from over the entire year.

The fact that I can count the number of times I’ve been out with my fingers.

My, my.

Today, my first free day, I did some first-timers.

I had a coffee made from a Moka Pot for the first time.

I visited my first London cemetery – Highgate Cemetery – which hosts Karl Marx’s tombstone and other charming sights.

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My phone died by the time we came face to face with Marx himself. Here’s a Wiki image of his resting place for your interest.

Less effective in this image is the darkness which he casts with his eyes. Each eyeball must be the size of a grapefruit, which allows plenty of room for white, iris and pupil. The eyes are alive. Even the natural moisture (eye juice) is carved in.

I also had my first Magnum ice cream for the year.

I am very overwhelmed by everything. And so very, very tired.

Gonna go now. I’ll write something more substantial later.

Ciao x

An account from a Leaf (Leaf) on the passing of summer…

If you were in my neighbourhood in Atlanta you’d think it was still summer.

The sun is still out, not that often, but enough to tan me as I jog in and out of the shady trees in the local park and to bring out its coniferous aromas. In my room the air conditioning keeps me cool; the occasional ice-cream is a supplement.

But the leaves are indeed falling. It’s one of the many things I’ve been observing while I’m out doing regular exercise – for once, ha! Every few days, every other day, depending on my definition of ‘regular’ when I wake up in the morning, I’ve had the chance to see the effects of seasons changing. The gardeners have taken out the leaf-blowers, don’t know what they’re really called, to clear the path of brown, crispy curls. The landing rate has increased gradually; one leaf falling during a lap round the park has grown into several from a single tree.

“Well, duh in Autumn they die and by winter trees are naked. What is so special about that?”

For a while I’ve called summer ‘My Season’. In many respects it does, whether you like it or not, belong to me. And here’s why:

  • I was a summer baby born July 11th on a hot summer’s day. In London it was reported to have been a high of 41.C
  • During wintertime, many take pleasure in wearing chunky garments, wrapping up warm, putting on wellies and all that stuff. I am not a fan. So much effort put into every morning’s wardrobe picks only leaving me looking like a babushka. If I’m honest, I feel and look much better in summer clothes, which proves that I must have been created for summer only.

I thought these were the only two reasons which justified my strong attachment to the middle months of the year. But today I discovered another one! I can’t I never noticed this until now!

The new evidence I share with you right this moment.

I’ve been called many different names throughout my life. Once I even wrote about my awkward meet-and-greet experiences – it’s something I feel increasingly apprehensive about as I grow up – but I don’t think I’ve ever explained the origin of my name. Over the summer a few of my friends learned of its meaning and used it frequently as a replacement for my normal one – YeYe, if you didn’t know already. As a result the nickname was embedded quite deeply in my brain and was thus accepted into my daily thought processes.

In solitude I become very reflective. (Great, now you know when I’m lonely by keeping track of how often I write blog posts.) Sometimes I rewind my memories and play them back to myself:

Your name; is it Chinese? Yes.

What does it mean? Leaf Leaf; one ‘Ye’ translates to ‘leaf’.


Do you you see it now?! Don’t tell me you don’t.

Yes; you do!

Leaves grow and thrive in Spring and Summer, and they die during Autumn and Winter! I rise and fall with them. Oh my goodness. 

That the summer season and I are physically, emotionally in tune with one another is now an absolute fact. It creeps me out that I speak of this connection like a romantic and human relationship, but I can’t find a better way to illustrate my point.

Take a moment for this revelation to sink in. Don’t worry, it took me a while as well.


Last mention of bugs, I promise: Torrential rain the previous day brings out the spiders and their metre-long webs to catch the influx of insects. They’ve been hiding from last night’s weather. I seem to been on a flowery, William Wordsworth, hipster orbit right now. Get me out of here please. I’m supposed to be a realistic and rational person. I’m studying law in less than a fortnight, ARGH!

August 21st 2013 – Adventures to the mall and movie theatre!

This past week I’ve been on my laptop the whole time writing, receiving and forwarding emails to the four corners of the world. Of course having such a device is indeed a luxury for anyone. But as my only method of communication, I am growing tired of its use, and therefore kind of deluded.

University this, that, loan, rent, budget,  sending copies to Mum, Dad, and emailing far too many student societies asking to be part of them. Oh my god save my eyeballs from imploding! All made worse by the fact I’ll probably be using eBooks as study material for the next few years, I’ll be glued to this machine 24/7, and that frightens me.

Photo on 21-08-2013 at 23.01

Not sure how the duo-spectacles thing is going to work out in the long term. Might have to invest in a pair of clip-on shades to fix onto my glasses, like the ones my Dad uses. He looks questionably cool…

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