Home and Away

my faith, my life, in a faraway land Livin', inspirin & lovin' it

Thursday, September 30, 2004


5 more weeks before the starting of exams. I'm feeling as though I had just started my semester. Time flies at rocket speed. I'm still deciding my plans for the rest of the year. It seems more or less set that I'll have to fly back to Singapore to fix my American working visa. That means I'll have to change my return ticket to a round-the-world again and also to start to think about when to leave and where to go. Hassle.

Anyway, this has got me thinking about where to stop on my way to America. And I guess London is back on the agenda.

London, London, London. It's a country I've never step foot on but already has a special place in my heart since many years ago. I know what you guys must be thinking right now but it's not.

It's actually a promise that I made to my Grandpa years ago... but I guess if it wasn't for 'The Terminal' which I watched a couple of days ago, it would still be at the back of my mind.

It goes back to one of those lazy afternoons when I tried to put off work by chatting with Grandpa. It all seem like a good reason not to do work. No one would nag at me for talking to Grandpa. The pictures of that afternoon are still vivid in my mind.

Grandpa was as usual, lying on his lazy chair, humming tunes and staring at the ceiling fan. I sat on the floor beside him and held his hand. He turned and smiled and I gave a cheeky smile back. I lifted his arm and made fun of him by pulling the sagging skin under his arm. I stuck out my tongue and he smiled again.

Grandpa was partially deaf and our conversations were always filled with more actions than words- the gazes, the smiles and the touches. But that particular afternoon was different. I can't remember who started the topic but we ended up talking about my great grandpa.

According to grandpa, GGP used to work for a trading company in London. He was a fine man who spoke good English and had to travel to and fro London and Singapore because of his family.

I was intrigued. There were pictures of GGP all over the house and there was always an aunty or uncle who would pick up a picture of him and reminisce the times they had with their grandpa. Yet no one have never really told me exactly what kind of person he was or how he led his life and family. Grandpa went on and on...

"Hmm.. so have you ever been to London?" I asked Grandpa.

"No... I've never," Grandpa replied.

"I'll bring you after I graduate from university, okay?" I asked.

Grandpa beamed. "Okay, it's a promise?" he said.

"Yeap, it's a promise, Grandpa," I said as we hooked our little pinkies.

This happened when I was thirteen. But I was serious about what I said. In fact, it became something Grandpa and I would talk about very often... ...

In the last few months and even days before Grandpa passed away, he was still talking about the promise. He was senile and couldn't remember most of his grandchildren but he remembered me... and the promise.

Grandpa died in 2001. It was a day before I was to return from my travels in New Zealand. I was devastated when Brother text me the news. I sat in the park in front of my lodge and vowed I would make good my promise.

I've never forgotten about this but I guess my plans to visit London earlier on was somehow clouded by other issues.

Tom Hanks in 'The Terminal' made his way to America for his late father who was a fan of an American jazz group. He had sent out letters to all of the members of the jazz group to obtain their autographs but only 39 out of the 40 responded. Hanks promised to get the last one for him. And he did.

The movie struck more than a chord in me. I want to tell my children about Grandpa. I want to tell them about the trip I made for Grandpa... And I'm excited to see how my plans will unfold in the next couple of weeks.


At 3:28 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Great post Grace. Hope all your plans are going okay, getting ready for that!
And time does fly doesn't it? That's not a good thing for some people...like me :)

At 5:44 AM, Blogger CharlieTango said...

London, eh. Good thing you can talk to your grandpa. I can't speak mandarin/ hakka fluently, so, yer.
Cool post gracie

Dave mate. Tsk Tsk.

At 12:55 AM, Blogger "SPG" said...

Hey...I remember that now!



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