ListenFromTheHeart: #10 Mono No Aware – Hammock


“Make yourself comfortable. Dim the lights. Close your eyes.”

There is a large grass field that stretched beyond the eyes can see. Just an endless amount of green, spotted with colours, white dandelions scattered, lavender dispersed, sunflowers springing up all around. The warmth of the sun shines into me, and I can see it’s rays of light spreading and reaching to each and every corner of the field. I run through the vastness and feel like nothing else can hold me down, and slowly I float, up, up, and away.

Toddler. Running between the bars on the tube carriage, sprinting left and right, left and right. Then I find my favourite carriage, and stop. Holding onto that centre pole and just spin round and round and round. I see the people flying by before my eyes, slowly all blurring into each other. “The next station is Sheung Wan. This is the end of the Island Line. Thank you for travelling on the MTR. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform.”

Back then, home was sprinting up those marble steps that lead to the glass door, where I press the numbers to make the green light blink and the door click open. It is then sprinting up the escalators to reach the lifts. Whilst waiting for one of the three lifts to race down, making a quick bet on which one is the one, and turning around to smile at the security guard whom may or may not have saved the seven-eleven collectible for me. Then as the elevators arrive with a ‘ding’, I sprint in, pressing the number 18, and watch the elevator door shut.

Pre-teen. Writing furiously in the diary I shared with my best friend, creating a code that dictated which boy was the one we liked the most, and which one we liked the least. Then also jotting down our overly fantasised dreams about kings and queens in a magical fairy land.

Back then, home was roller blading from school to home, dropping by the park to see if I could ‘accidentally’ stumbled across that cute neighbour who was a few grades above me. Then, going home to throw off the rollerblades only to flop onto the sofa to catch the last few minutes of whatever show was on Cartoon Network. Logging onto my HP laptop and turning of MSN messenger to see if any friends were around to hang out at the park or clubhouse before getting started on homework. Reassuring my mother that I am not procrastinating as the bedroom door shut.

Teenager. Sitting one seat further away from him than usual because of a question one of his friends had announced in the corridor prior to the dreaded mandarin lesson, and realising that it was a serious question after all. After two months, sitting beside one another holding hands for the first time on the plane back from a maths competition and watching titanic. And feeling the butterflies flutter here and there.

Back then, home was getting off the school bus where I had just celebrated a little bit of christmas with candy canes with the ‘cool’ crew at the back of the bus, then turning the corner to return home as I rush to prepare for a mandarin lesson. Where Sunday nights meant home cooked family meals and a movie night that meant the kids enjoyed the sofas below, as my parents watched a more ‘age-appropriate’ film for themselves in the cosiness of their room.

IB student. Pulling yet another all nighter in the computer room with only the best of the ‘hustlers’ whom had all gotten comfortable in their tracksuits and jumpers. Working for 2 hours before being slightly distracted by a question that ends with a philosophical debate about growing up and parental expectations that then leads to global awareness and efforts of conservation that ends at 3am in the morning.

Back then, home was taking the exact number of selfies that matched my room number coincidentally and oversleeping classes together only to wake up in the fright at the exact moment with my roommate only to say ’10 more minutes’. It was being able to just run next door and cry into my best friend’s pillow to wash away all the pain and frustration of a broken relationship.

Young adult. Getting into the Harry Potter series for the first time after being deprived of them my whole life due to the fear instilled in me after a 5 minute snippet of writings on a wall. Being nudged awake in lectures after having plenty of selfies taken with me slouched over the back of the chair to focus after a long night of hardcore scrolling through buzzfeed.

Now, home is a 25 minute walk away from university and a 7 minute walk from the nearest Tesco. It’s passive aggressive messages in a Facebook chat to talk about cleanliness of our kitchen. It’s sleeping on only half the bed because I’m too lazy to clear away the books that are occupying the other half. It is sitting cosily under two blankets and writing this blog.

Unlike the other times where I had read the lyrics whilst listening to the song, I had properly closed my eyes, lay down, dimmed the lights, placed my headphones snuggly across my ears and allowed the song to take me away. Scenes had flashed before my eyes and I was taken back to specific memories of my past. There were award ceremonies, there were family moments on vacation, and there were simple moments at home.


I grew up in Hong Kong, and spent most of the years that I can remember in the same house in Hong Kong Island. Then as I turned 10, I moved to Shanghai and since then had moved three times between houses. Lastly, spending the last two years of high school in boarding school and then now studying in London – Home wasn’t something that had remained constant.

Yet, these memories of the past, although not completely documented, was deeply engraved into my memory stronger than how the proximal convoluted tubule reabsorbs sodium and water. (#mediclife).

As the song played on, I could see myself in my own graduation, my wedding (I hope), and other future events I hope shall happen. These are the milestones I hope to achieve, but I have learnt to let go of the set 20-year life plan that I had set for myself. When I restrict these things to happen according to God’s plan, I know that it won’t turn out for the better.

Therefore, no matter how much life changes from now onwards, wherever home may move to, I will take it day by day, and allow the memories to slowly build up the complete puzzle that is me.


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