'Trust me' - but can I really?

By panda_eyed
'Trust me'.

It's something that's easily said, but not so easy to do. At least, not if you're me. I can pinpoint the moment I became less trusting of the human race. I'm going to tell you a story. It's something that I still think about a lot, and although it wasn't the best time of my life, it's made me who I am today. I still can't figure out if I'm better or worse for it.

I used to have a group of close friends in high school - about 7 or 8 of us. We would do everything together, tell each other everything. Needless to say, some of us were closer than others, and quite occasionally, we would argue and fall out, rifts would form in the group, and at least for a while, there would be much bitching and cattiness. All very normal for teenage girls, sure. When our GCSEs finished, we all went to different colleges but managed to still stay incredibly close friends throughout.

I thought we'd all be friends for life, as you do at that time. But towards the end of our A levels, two of the stronger characters in the group had a huge falling out - over something incredibly stupid, no doubt, because I don't remember what over. Nevertheless, we split into two groups, and didn't speak for several months. I remember that my 18th birthday fell in the middle of that time, and I was still on good terms with everyone. So in an attempt to reconcile the group, I invited them all to a birthday dinner party. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was upset and annoyed that the 'other' group didn't turn up.

But fair enough, I let it go, for the sake of friendship. We would soon all be going to different universities, and I didn't want to fall out over something so silly again. Eventually, our little group healed itself - the two friends that had fallen out in the first place made up, and whilst we weren't as close a group as we'd been, that was okay, because by now, uni had now started. Everyone was getting on with their own lives, making new friends, finding new interests. Old friends drift apart sometimes, that's to be expected.

The first year of uni should be an exciting new time, and it was for the first few months. I'd left home for the first time, was making new friends, new experiences and feeling grown up. But I was in a long-distance relationship at the time, and I could feel it coming to an end. We'd been together for years at that point, but then came a confession - he had cheated on me, not for the first time, and we broke up. I was devastated. Then something even more awful happened. I still can't say it or even type it - lets just say I was 'abused'. I only told one person about it. A good friend at the time, or so I thought. This person - lets call him Bob. I wanted some support, I got none, just a shrug of the shoulder, a joke made.

So imagine how happy I was when, one afternoon, out of the blue, all of my old group of friends turn up at my halls of residence. I was surprised, because I hadn't spoken to them in ages, and I had no idea they'd planned to come see me, but I was delighted all the same. I thought it'd be a nice distraction from everything else that had happened, and catch up with my old best friends.

With hindsight, I should have known that something was up - who just turns up unannounced in the middle of the day? I could have been at lectures or out doing something else. Anyway, I didn't know any different, and we spent half an hour catching up. Then I noticed that everyone else in the room had a shifty look, catching each other's eye, some looking very guilty indeed. You know what they had come to do? The two girls who had previously fallen out had decided that it was my fault, that I had been stirring things up between them and had told each of them lies about the other to ruin their friendship, despite it being quite the opposite. There were many other stupid accusations, all of which involved a cunning deception on my part. They made me sound like the villain in a bad novel. Then they let slip that Bob had told them about what had happened to me (even though I explicitly told him I didn't want anyone else to know), and instead of being there for me, they accused me of making the whole thing up just to gain sympathy. That was possibly the one thing in that whole sorry year that hurt me the most.

Many times since then, I have wondered why those two girls, people that I liked, respected and trusted, felt the sudden need to blame me for all the things I never did, why they needed to turn all our other friends against me too, and why they needed to rally everyone together to confront me that day. I guess it was just bully tactics, intimidation. We may have only been 18 at the time, and it could be put down to simple immaturity, but I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive what they did that day, especially the malicious way in which they did it, to try to cause me as much pain as possible. What could I possibly have done to deserve that?

Needless to say, I haven't spoken to any of those girls since. One of them sheepishly MSN-ed me a while ago, apologetic in tone, pretending it never happened. While she wasn't the instigator of it all, I still can't forgive the way in which she followed, like a flea on a dog.

That period is a time I try not to think about too often. It still hurts even after years. Whilst I could deal with breaking up with my first love and getting over the humiliation of being abused, I still haven't gotten over the betrayal of my best friends. I guess I'm still bitter. I only keep a couple of close friends now, and I'm very cautious with trust. I wish I wasn't, but once burned, twice shy, as they say. But I do know who my real friends are now.

Pandy reviews her weekend

Category: By panda_eyed
I'm loving Lemar's new album The Truth about Love. There's something about his voice that sends shivers down my spine. I've loved him since Fame Academy, and even went to see the live show afterwards, just for him - is that sad? He was amazing though - the air was zinging with emotion. So on Sunday, when I saw an ad for his concert at the Hammersmith Apollo in April - how could I not buy tickets?! Yes, I have £11.37 left in my bank account, and £2.56 left in my purse. Still, pay day is on Thursday, and you're only young once..

Went to see the play Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks at the Theatre Royal on Haymarket, starring Billy Zane and Claire Bloom, on Saturday. Billy Zane plays a gay dance instructor, Clair Bloom, the student. It does what it says on the packet. It was a bit slow at first, but I enjoyed seeing the unlikely friendship develop between the two characters, and finding out the events that caused them to become who they are. I had a tear in my eye at one point, but that might have been because I had PMT. Never trust the reviews of a premenstrual girl. I think it was good.. :) No, it was, but it wasn't the best thing I've seen. [Girly aside]: Billy Zane was hot in Titanic - How has he lost all his hair already?! He plays a gay man rather well - Kelly Brook ought to watch out..

HK diner for dinner afterwards. The food is usually good in there, but I didn't rate the microwave-heated, greasy mulch on my plate this time around. They had us in and out within 25 minutes, what does that say to you, when we spent 10 minutes ordering? After snatching the plates from us and slapping down a bill before we'd even finished chewing, the waiters had the cheek to say "What are they still waiting for?". If you want a relaxed dinner with good freshly cooked food, where the staff have good manners, avoid this place.

Last night, spent one hour, forty minutes battling London traffic to get into central London to see Donkey's Years at the Comedy theatre, this time. Well worth it. 25 years after graduation, some friends return for a reunion dinner, with hilarious consequences. David Haig, better known for playing Inspector Grim in The Thin Blue Line (remember that..?) was brilliant as Christopher Headingley, and Karl Theobald (best known as Martin Dear in Green Wing) brought his special brand of spot-on awkwardness. This was rather clever slapstick at its best, and I definitely recommend it. It made Pandy laugh, and that's not an easy feat!

What else? That's about it, I think. I had 2 days off and I'm back at work, or rather, working from home reluctantly today. I had a week of respite from ME symptoms, but they are back again, and I'm back to being tired, grumpy, achy, weak, twitchy. Still, it was a great week..

There's always someone watching

By panda_eyed
I've always been very self-conscious, and as a result, there are certain things I won't do in front of other people. Some of these things are: getting undressed, dancing (unless we're in a club), and singing. The list used to be much longer - ridiculous things like not being able to apply make up or looking in a mirror in public (fear of being perceived shallow/vain). I even used to feel uncomfortable eating in front of people (paranoid that people would think, 'god, no wonder she's so fat'). Irrational, silly things, I know, but I've mostly grown out of that now, though I still have my days. I still feel awkward, knowing that one of my colleagues is in a cubicle in the loo next to mine, and can hear every tinkle.

Strange as that may be, another one of my peculiarities is singing to myself whilst having a wee. This, I will only do when I know no one's around. I don't know why I do it, but it's just a quirk of mine, I guess. Anyway, yesterday in the loos at work, I could have sworn there was no one in there. I did my singing thing, picking a song that's way too high for my little voice to reach, singing completely off-key and not being able to hit the higher notes. It was like a dog dying. Then I hear a scuffle of a shoe in the next cubicle, or it could have been a muffled laugh. How mortified was I? I couldn't get out of there quick enough! I practically ran back to my desk, red-faced and cringing. I really hope it wasn't a member of my team/my boss and that they didn't know it was me! How embarrassing..

I had a few giggles over it later on, with the best friend. The convo lead to many childish giggles about farts and poo and other such cringe-worthy tales. We're like a couple of 8yr old boys sometimes.. fun though :) My question is, can you recognise someone from their singing voice if you've never heard them sing before? I could have sworn people were sniggering as I came in this morning.. Hehe..

I took a half day off to go christmas shopping on Oxford Street yesterday. I'd hoped to get the bulk of it out of the way. So did I buy lots of presents? No... Did I buy anything for anyone else? No... Did I buy more clothes, shoes and accessories for myself, despite already over-spending this month? Yeees... I was very bad. I bought myself a metallic studded belt from River Island, two pairs of very pretty dangly earrings, some charcoal-coloured slouchy boots, a wrap-around cardy, and some sparkly mushroomy-coloured eyeshadow. I so don't deserve any christmas presents this year..


By panda_eyed

Since I last posted I:
  • have been playing with my spangly new phone (Sony Ericsson w850i) - ooh shiny!
  • have been playing with my new stereo - it has DAB radio, an MP3 port and feeel that bass, baby!
  • have been half-blind with blurry vision and headaches - until I realised that I'd actually forgotten to take out my contact lenses and had just put new ones in - 2 days running..
  • felt extremely silly in a team meeting when I inhaled deeply and swallowed my chewing gum, making a squeaky noise thinking I was choking and causing everyone to look at me.
  • had a delicious lobster dinner - mmm, mmm, mmm..
  • bought tickets to see Joe at the Brixton academy even though it cleared out the rest of my funds in the bank account. Pay day is 10 days away.
  • have booked 2 and a half days off work for things like christmas shopping. With my overdraft I guess..
  • started making a list of all the pirate DVDs I must buy from HK - good films that have been released this year. I can't think of very many - what do you guys suggest?
    • Pirates of the Carribean2
    • Da vinci code
    • Memoirs of a geisha
    • The break up
    • Ice age 2
    • Pride & prejudice
    • The devil wears Prada
    • X men 3


Hong Kong: The Village

Category: By panda_eyed
Come 20th December, I will be 80,000 ft in the air, on my way to sunny, warm, bustling Hong Kong, yayyy!

When I was younger, we would do this trip every Christmas to visit my grandparents and other relatives and friends. We always stayed at my maternal granparents' house, in the small, idyllic village of Sheung Wo Hang near the borders of China. Words can't describe how beautiful it is, and what fond memories it holds for me. Pictures don't do it justice, but nevertheless, I shall try and paint you a picture.

The village lies in a low valley between several green mountains. When I'm there, in the mornings, I get up before sunrise so that I can sit outside in the morning dew and wait for the sun wake up, orange and pink, between the mountains. This time of morning is my favourite - the air is pure and clean, you can still hear crickets and all manner of birdsong, but it is peaceful and tranquil - the perfect place for reflection. Then the sun rises higher in the sky, and I can feel it's gentle touch warming my skin and the air around me - bliss. Hong Kong in winter is rather like early summer in Britain, and I love it.

In the afternoons, if we don't already have plans (in HK, this usually means two things - shopping or eating), me and my sister will go down to the village stream - occasionally there will be wrinkly old women washing clothes or vegetables in the water. The water here is clear and clean, having been filtered by the mountains as it runs down. The river is flanked by reeds, bamboo and trees, and prettily coloured dragon flies buzz around. We've spent many a happy afternoon playing here, paddling our feet in the water, catching crabs, shrimps, frogs, and feeding the little fish with breadcrumbs. It is a delicious way to pass the time.

When we tire of the stream, we go walkies in the village. Everyone in the village has a dog - they run free and are curious things. Small wild cats lounge in the sun, but if you get too close, they'll dart away. I love walking the path that follows the stream. You have to cover up here, for fear of being bitten by vicious mosquitoes, but it is worth it. Big purple and white flowers grow where there is water, the bugs hidden amongst the green urge you to admire their singing, and occasionally you'll see things growing that you never do back home - the odd banana, guava, papaya, starfruit and even chow-chows and lychees. I've always been a city girl, but this is my respite.

In the middle of the village are some odd-looking trees that have been here for centuries. They are strange in that they have gnarly, root-like strands growing from their branches - these grow down to the ground, and when they touch the soil, they lignify and eventually thicken to become branches in their own right. This gives it a waterfall-like effect. Behind these trees is a hidden path which leads to another part of the river - the water is deeper here - my mum, aunties and uncles used to come swimming here when they were younger. Beware of snakes though!

The old village school still stands - a very basic building, where all the children, my relatives included, went to school. It's now a museum, and tourists come to see it, and our village. I love that the village has so much history. I love knowing that my mum grew up here and seeing all the places she used to spend time in. I love knowing that this is the birthplace of my ancestors, that everyone here knows everybody else, and are descended from two brothers who settled here from China centuries back.

I love this place to pieces, and one day, I would love to bring my children here and show them where their grandma and great-grandparents grew up. I'd like to expose them to Chinese culture as much as possible, especially growing up abroad, with so many other cultural influences jostling for room. The problem is - I may not get to come here this year, or the next. My aunties and uncles want to put my grandmother into a nursing home, and if so, there will be no cause to come here - to what will be an empty, dusty house that's such a commute to the city. Without my grandma here, it just won't be the same.

Although putting my grandmother in a home makes me very sad, it is a whole other post, and I won't talk about it now. There are so many memories here. Hong Kong, the city, isn't enough to keep me wanting to come back year after year. The village is what I long for when I think of HK - of sunny, lazy days - not the shopping, not even the great food holds much appeal when this setting is missing. I feel like you do when you finish a good book. This chapter in my life has finally come to an end.

Lobster for dinner

Category: By panda_eyed

These lobsters were brought back from the fish market last night. Aren't they beautiful? They were flailing like crazy, very much alive when we took them out. It seems like such a shame to eat them - not that I usually think twice when eating meat or seafood, but it's a different story when you've got to kill them. They've both female - both carrying eggs on the underside of the tail, as you can see in the picture. Isn't it fascinating? They're supposed to be a delicacy in parts of the world, it will be interesting to try.

There is much debate on the most humane way to kill lobsters, which mostly involve boiling. The Chinese, however, don't trouble themselves thinking about these things, and they're drained of urine (I won't tell you how), then chopped before frying or steaming. These two will be shallow-fried/steamed with ginger and spring onion. Mmm, I can taste the sweet, delicate flavours already..Does anyone know what to do with lobster roe? Should it be cooked separately or just left to cook with the rest of the lobster?

I suspect the wonderful Nikki might be able to answer this one!

I've misplaced my marbles - have you got them?

By panda_eyed
I never get much done when I work from home - as was the case last week. Hence, I spent the first 3 days of this week frantically trying to catch up, and yesterday, finally had everything in order. And then today, I am at home again, and what have I done..? Not a lot. *sighs*

With the limited amount of energy I have with the ME, I feel like I save all my energy just so that I can work, and then spend the rest of the day feeling too exhausted and ill to do anything else. I have no choice but to work - what else would I do? But I also don't feel like I have much of a life anymore - not that it was all fun-filled and exciting before, but at least I had the option. Still, I would hate not being able to work - at least now, I can still keep up a certain level of normality and routine. Without it, I might slowly descend into inactivity and depression.

Anyway, you'll never guess what I did. I put in a load of laundry this afternoon. When it was done, I opened the door of the machine and immediately noticed that something wasn't quite right. I couldn't think what it was for a while, but then I put my nose to it, and realised that it smelt of... nothing.

I'd only forgotten to put any washing powder in, damnit..

I am 23 years old, but my memory is getting to be like my 83 yr old grandmother's. Earlier this week, I took a shower, and it wasn't until I had stepped out, dripping wet and stark nekkid that I realised I hadn't brought a towel in with me. What did I do? I opened the door a crack and shouted for someone, then realised no one could hear me - my parents were downstairs with the TV on full blast, and my sister was in the study with headphones on. What next..? Wrap the teensy hand towel around me? No, that was in the wash. What would you have done? Me, I waited a few more seconds, just to make sure no one was about to come up the stairs, and then made a mad dash to the bedroom, dripping water all down the corridor. Pandy, the streaker! I just hope the neighbours weren't looking out of their windows at the time.. *blush*

That's pretty much been the week so far - not very exciting, huh? Ooh, I've ordered a shiny new phone, which I'll get on Monday - I'm so excited! Hope you all have a good weekend! Gosh I can't believe it's Friday already..

*edit* Mmmm... toasted, buttered teacakes.. Nyum.. *pigs out*


By panda_eyed
Hi lovely bloggers, sorry it took me so long to reply to all your comments - I've been so busy at work, and then too tired to get online in the evening. I've been a bit neglectful of your blogs, I'm sorry, and I'll try and stop by soon, promise.

I should hopefully be able to blog properly soon, once I'm on top of everything, But for now, here's an article I read for work that tickled me today, especially
after the discussion about male appendages in my froggy post! It details the first penile transplant - boring stuff, until you reach the penultimate sentence - "At day 14 postoperatively, because of a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife, the transplanted penis was cut off". *Screams*! OUCHie..!
Severe psychological problem.. his wife.. Do ya think she couldn't come* to terms with another man's member? I would be a little (a lot) disturbed too! I wonder what happened to him after it was lopped off.. the poor sod..

Hope you're all well!

*no pun intended!

Friends with benefits

By panda_eyed
I've just been chatting on MSN to a male friend, T, who I haven't seen or spoken to in a long time. Once upon a time, he wanted to be more than just that, but I didn't feel the same way. We tried to continue being friends, but I guess when a girl hurts a boy's ego by rejecting him, it won't ever be the same again. Shortly after, he moved away and the texts and calls got fewer and fewer until they petered out altogether.

I hadn't thought about him in a while, but I was pleased when I found him online today. We chatted like we used to before, lots of banter and teasing, until he asked me if I was seeing anyone. I told him no, and he asked me why not - a nice girl like me, and proceded to list all my good qualities. He said he's with someone now, and that I should be in a good relationship too. I told him, honestly, that I'm not looking relationship right now and that, at least for the time being, I'm happy as I am. I said, jokingly, that I wouldn't mind having a friend with benefits though, wink wink.

His reaction was unexpected. He swore lots, went very quiet for a while (all the while, I'm saying 'what..? whaaat..?') and then said, 'Why would you do that to yourself'? Bemused, I told him that it would be good to have the best of both worlds. He reacted like I'd just told him I was whoring for money, telling me that he'd never thought I was like that, and insinuating that I have no morals or scruples. Then it all went quiet, and that was that.

I'm bemused, I really am. It's not as if he believes in no sex before marriage, and he's had quite a few girlfriends himself. In the past, he's continually ribbed me for being a 'wild girl' (although I'm nothing of the sort). Why does he seem to think this is more sordid than it actually is? I only bought it up as a joke - I haven't said I've got a friend-with-benefits, so what's up with that? Since the conversation ended there, I sense I've lost a friend, and I have no idea why.

So can anyone fill me in? Why would it be so wrong to have a friend-with benefits? Why is it alright to sleep with someone who's your girl/boyfriend but not a friend who knows what you're in this for, and feels the same way? I know there might be chance that one of you might develop feelings, etc., and get hurt, but I don't think that was what T was worried about. And anyway, I've had at least one relationship where although we thought of each other as boyf/girlf, thinking back, it was more like friends with benefits. I'm annoyed and saddened that I should be judged this way for an innocent comment. I DO have scruples and I am NOT, as he insinuated, a floozy.

My froggy prince charming

By panda_eyed
This is the cute little frog prince that sweet Livvy gave me. Why expend time and energy finding prince charming when you can grow him, eh? He's been in water for the last 3 days, and I've been taking pics to chart his progress. He's all grown now, so if I kiss him, do you think he'll turn into my prince..?

At 0 hours, measuring just under 4 cm At 24 hours, fatly measuring 5.5cm At 48 hours - just under 6cm but much podgier, with a crazed look in his eye
At 72 hours - 6.5cm with very googly fat eyes, and looking like he's got trapped wind, hehe..

Thank you for my prince, Liv! He's made me smile a lot, even though I'm loathe to kiss him, as he's a bit swollen and gungy! I guess finding a prince that I do want to kiss is a little bit harder...

Redundancy in language

By panda_eyed
What is it with people who say 'So he turned around and said ...'?! If he physically turned around and said something, then fair enough, otherwise, don't say it! It annoys me immensely. As does when people pronounce the words 'sort of' as 'suttuv' and inject it unnessarily often in speech, i.e. ' It was round, suttuv, and large'. Arghh! Say it properly, when needed, or not at all!

I'm a bit of a grump today. I didn't get very much sleep because my legs were aching and restless and it was so cold this morning. I also hate being a girl. And my colleagues in the office. One in particular actually, but I'll tell you about that one another time.

What, in language, annoys you?