L is for LifeScouts

I said in this post that I’d explain the LifeScouts badges I’ve collected so far, and I’m here to keep my word. (I also figured this post would fit nicely into my A to Z challenge because those badges are pretty much a representation of my life “growing up”, so win/win!) I have 24 badges so far, but some of them don’t have very interesting stories so I’m only picking a few to elaborate on.

Played video games

Despite my love for games in general, I’ve never been that much of a video gamer. We didn’t have any at my house when I was younger, so I never felt inclined to try one when I got older. (My brother owned a racing game complete with steering wheel and foot pedals, but I’m not sure if that counts as a video game.) I’ve since played a few games of tennis, soccer and even golf with my cousins, and I can testify that it is both fun and addictive.

Visited the Taj Mahal

When I was 13 or 14, my extended family and I went on a grand tour of North India, and one of our stops was the Taj Mahal at Agra. The palace is definitely a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts and history buffs, and while both the palace and its surroundings could do with better upkeep, there’s no denying the ethereal, majestic quality the place exudes.

Speak French
Speak French

I only studied French for 2 years during higher secondary, which gave me a surprisingly good grasp of the language, at least in its written form. I was (and still am) hopeless at verbal communication, mostly due to my teacher’s inability to speak French without liberally Indianising it. Consequently, when I went to France last year, I could read the signs just fine, but I’d take a long time to understand what anyone was saying because it was way too fast for me to separate into actual words.

Origami
Origami

My first experience with origami dates back to my university days and more specifically, to my friend Macho Girl. A big fan of origami, she once made many, many paper cranes and hung it all about her room because she said they were supposed to bring good luck. I don’t have particularly dextrous fingers, but I do like making little origami figures once in a while. My latest attempt was a heart for a fellow colleague on Teachers’ Day.

Visited the Niagara Falls
Visited the Niagara Falls

Way back in 1998, my mother and I went on a long, long tour of the US. We visited a lot of states and many iconic places, including the Niagara Falls. My predominant memory is standing on a boat, wearing a plastic raincoat, and getting so close to the falls, I could literally see just a blank white screen in front of my eyes for a good, long while. It was both terrifying and exhilarating.

Seen the Mona Lisa
Seen the Mona Lisa

My friend and I saw the Mona Lisa when we visited France last year, and was thoroughly unimpressed. I mean, the painting itself may be fantastic, but all the hype it has generated has made seeing the actual thing quite disappointing. For one, it’s much smaller than you expect it to be from looking at pictures of it, and another, there are so many people thronging the room where it is held (behind a thick, ugly glass panel), it’s suffocating. Additionally, the room also houses a HUGE, magnificent painting of The Wedding Feast, which gets completely ignored because of its infamous neighbour.

Sung karaoke
Sung karaoke

I love singing. I love singing with background music. Therefore, I love karaoke. I love it so much, my friends once blindfolded me and took me to a karaoke joint (is that what they’re called?) as part of a birthday surprise. I can’t believe I only got introduced to the idea in Singapore, but I hope it stays a part of my life forever and ever.

Seen the Eiffel Tower
Seen the Eiffel Tower

At first sight, I found the Eiffel Tower to be disappointing and maybe even a little ugly; there was just so much steel and so much… well, brown. As the sun started to set and the brown faded into a lovely silhouette, it started growing on me. I wasn’t a big fan of the multi-coloured lights that come on in the night, but when the Tower sparkled, it was truly a sight to behold.

Can drive
Can drive

I’ve had a driver’s licence for almost 10 years now, but only in the past few months have I become any good at it. I was never in India for long enough after getting my licence, so I never got a decent amount of practice. Compared to other countries, getting a licence in India is as easy as going to the store and picking up groceries. Driving in India is a similar experience, but if you’re manoeuvring through the tiny aisles of the stores in a four-wheeler while trying to not to run over the dozens of people milling about and without knowing where the cashier is.

Been to a concert
Been to a concert

I love western music, so it’s surprising that I haven’t been to more concerts in my life. I’ve seen/listened to a lot of performers, but there’s a specific image of concerts in my head, and most of the “performances” I’ve been to don’t live up to that image. The one that comes closest is the time Jason Mraz performed in Singapore as part of the Gardens by the Bay opening ceremonies. The audience was not that big, but Mraz is so fantastic live, it was great just to be able to see him in action.

Performed on stage
Performed on stage

I did a lot of performing when I was younger, taking part singing competitions and several solo and group dance recitals. I was pretty good, if I say so myself, which is why I feel sometimes that I could have seriously pursued a career in performing arts and done well for myself. I definitely hesitate a lot more about going on stage now, due to a combination of a fear of being ridiculed and a weird shyness that I’m desperately trying to get rid of.

Can ride a bicycle
Can ride a bicycle

Bicycling along East Coast Park, all the way to Changi Airport has always been one of my favourite ways to kick back and relax with friends in Singapore. I once did a bout of night cycling, complete with a 5am breakfast at an a 24/7 McDonald’s, and while my backside never forgave me for the aches and pains, it was the best experience I’ve had on a cycle, ever, and I can’t wait for the chance to do it again.

You can see the rest of the badges I’ve collected on the side and mouse over them for short descriptions if the pictures aren’t clear. I really like the concept of securing badges for life experiences, and if you’d like to do something similar, do visit the website and do your own collecting!

P.S.: I’ve given up on formatting this post, so please forgive the weird spacing and structuring. I’m having flashbacks to formatting my Honours year thesis and feeling light-headed thinking about it, so I’m just abandoning this as a lost cause.

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