Walking around campus on Oct 31, I had already noticed that students here are seriously into the whole festive spirit of Halloween, decked in superhero costumes that tend to exagerrate rather than accentuate existing figures; or witch hats and wizard capes; or another random monstrosity from one of many forgettable horror flicks churned out every year. Occasionally, the mainstays - Scream masks, Frankenstein - would surface, lending to the timelessness of their appeal.
Fred picked us up from Rieber Hall at around 3pm, taking an alternative route to his house that took about 2 full hours just to beat the horrendous traffic that Los Angeles is so well-known for. The freeways were beginning to pack tightly by mid-afternoon, though the weather was more forgiving this Friday as clouds had peppered the sky since Thursday afternoon. It was amazing to think that drivers in LA could acclimatise somehow to the claustrophobic pressures of being stuck in traffic for a good 2-3 hours on a daily basis without having the urge to take public transportation, which also underscores how inaccessible and inefficient the system is here.
Which marks one of several firsts in California: my first time that I've had a chihuahua sit on my lap, cuddled comfortably as he lets me stroke his back, behind his ears, ruffling his skin around his neck. Chi-chi has definitely earned his place in the hearts of us three, and Fred joked that the only thing we could remember when we returned to Singapore would be Chi-chi - we were literally showering so much attention on the little one!
While waiting for Rose to prepare her baby back ribs, oxtail and saffron rice, we headed out into the neighbourhood to preview the decorations that others had laboriously set up.
...the cynical Democrat...
...and the disgruntled Independent!
The girls' best attempt at looking kawaii!
And to top it off, Rose had noticed that I had mentioned that I love crossaints the other day, so she actually made them herself for us to bring back to our apartments to eat the following morning! Her oxtail was just fantastic, seriously - the faint wisp of red wine diffusing as one chewed through the succulent, soft meat off the bones of oxtail was irresistable. Couple that with delicious baby back ribs that were glistening off the oven rack, and fragrant saffron rice that reminded us of the type that we usually have back home - we truly are grateful to have Fred and Rose take care of us here, and we thank both of them deeply for everything they have done so far to make our stay in California so much more memorable.
To her, I dedicate this entry, just like every other entry before - for each letter that I scribe, I feel the inspiring power of her words run through the course of my veins, into my fingers as they fly across the keyboard, surging with purpose. I feel the tenderness of her voice permeating the harshness of the static generated by the travelling of sound waves across continents as they are filtered through numerous channels and devices; and as it arrives, it electrifies even with its gentle embrace.
I cannot find words to display my gratitude, and so I endeavour with every inch of effort I can exert from my mind, body and soul to keep her safe, because to see her hurt would render my heart asunder; to let her keep me safe, because I trust her as I have never trusted anyone before; to devote to her my heart, because we deserve each other.
Only a day to the elections, six weeks to the end of the quarter. I shall be patient, and we shall be together soon.