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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On China, family and writing

Location: Hainan
Time: 02:30AM – 05:00AM

How refreshing it is to fly to a country that feels like home yet bewilders you at the same time. I am swallowed up in the population, the ginormous bureaucracy, unknown to billions of people and barred from social media. It is weirdly pleasant, especially after such a publicised and popularised fortnight in another place, to escape into this culture. It means that I don’t get carried away wallowing in the memories of this ‘success’ and that ‘achievement’, swimming in the blue aftermath of adrenaline-filled days, all mopey that it has come to an end. The last thing I want to do is self-indulge and forget about where I am and who I am with.

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About a Violin

Part I

Wake up, wake up …

I wrote my final thank you card today and accepted the fact that I was going to cry very, very badly and uncontrollably in the violin shop. I buzzed the door, entered and greeted the lovely receptionists. Also there, by chance, was the lady who had made all of this happen. She was attending to another violinist – American, I think, judging from her accent – and took a tiny second to recognise me in my granny glasses and state of exhaustion.

Oh dear, I thought, this tragedy’s going to have an audience.

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Tuesday 19 July 2016: Too hot to sleep

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“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

April: Postcards from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strasbourg

Edinburgh – 03.04.16

The clock reads 02:59AM and my train is at 07:33AM, but my mind continues to reel round between my temples the pages of music that I don’t know, and my heartbeat is running away. I have tried every corner of the bed. I’ve crooked my back into countless different angles, spread my arms out under the pillows, listened to the radio, gone to the toilet, drank water …

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A Fortnight of Chocolate Sprinkles

At last! A winter that has the guts to eat away my skin, give me my first cold sore in years and push tears into my eyes as I move through the air. December, you were comfortable and tepid, but truly disappointing. I visited the Christmas Markets in a blazer jacket and scarf. There was neither ice nor snow, nor hail nor sleet. Not a shade of white in sight. The streets settled in bog-standard grey.

And look at Apeldoorn this morning…

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A Letter from Strasbourg

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I want to congeal in a glass case a piece of paralysed Time. In this Time, I will freeze more time, and continue diving into its heart to unearth more sparkling seconds. I want to keep all the milliseconds of taste, emotion and movement, to preserve textures, smells, the angles of the cobbled streets and to dance the rise and fall of the road ahead.

Looking at this glass, admiring it like my own little taxidermic creature, I’d also like to glitter it with something called Joy and Freedom, which I’d describe as a warm weightlessness that overcomes me when I grasp the rhythmic, tonal complexity of a perfectly pronounced French word, fluid and honest in its execution, watch it grace my mouth and tongue and transport a fragment of ‘me’ into the atmosphere that will, at last, be understood and appreciated. Or when the humour and sweetness of friends combines with the delights of French food, Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet and a fruity coffee. Or when, on the way to class, you suddenly can’t help but stand up on the pedals of your bike and sing to yourself, and imagine the old bicycle wheels spinning in a stereo like a cassette tape. Continue reading

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.

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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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Back in London: NYOGB meets NYOUSA

Yesterday, several NYO members had the great pleasure of meeting our sister orchestra – the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America! We were invited to watch the rehearsal for their Prom, which took place that evening, and then to lunch.

Us Brits would say we had a very lovely day. Americans apparently prefer to use the word:

“AWESOME!”

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