Set in Stories – Travel & lifestyle blog inspired by stories

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can improve my craft, which was why I decided to focus my attention on my new project – Set in Stories.

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Set in Stories is a travel and lifestyle website that rediscovers the world through stories – from literature, history, culture, film, music, fantasy and everything in between. My hope is that this will inspire you to become excited by all that this weird and wonderful world has to offer.

I’m also travelling across Europe for about 3 months this summer, so you can also expect some travel pieces as I make my way to the great unknown. Got an idea for my summer adventure list? Let me know here. 

Thank you for your support at Teller Of Her Tales, and do follow me on Set in Stories for the next chapter and new adventures.

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Not sure which to read first? Start Here: 

Finding The Little Prince in Singapore

Finding Wonderland in Kuala Lumpur

Postman’s Park: London’s Almost-Forgotten Heroes

7 things to do if you get lost while driving

79 of 100 Happy Days: Laughing with the Stars

“And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure… It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh…”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

(trans. Katherine Woods)

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A quote from one of my favourite books that matches the nostalgia I feel today. It won’t be long before a year has gone by since my university graduation. And every graduation before that. I miss a lot of people.

But I take comfort in that every star out there is another little laugh, as the little prince said. We’re all under the same sky after all. Cue the song ‘Somwhere Out There’ from the film An American Tail.

PS. It’s time to reconnect.

47 of 100 Happy Days: The Mysterious Artwork

A few months back, I came across a shop selling Japanese and Japan-inspired artwork, both original and reprints.

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I found this one mesmerising – a girl in a kimono and holding an umbrella, walking down the street all alone. I like to think she has a secret of sorts.

I got it in the end, had to wait awhile before I finally found a perfect spot for it. I could start a collection of mysterious figures sheltering themselves from the rain. Since I already have another one I really like and it looks like this one.

I asked the owners about the artist,  but it is a reprint and they weren’t too sure. They did suggest a name as it ‘looks like his style’, though I have lost it since.
Can anyone help me figure this out?

10 of 100 Happy Days: Remembering UEA

It’s been about six months since I graduated. I can’t believe it myself. When I got an alumni invitation for the launch of the university’s regional office in KL, I was a little hesitant at first. But I’m glad I went in the end.

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Apparently there are 760 Malaysian alumni recorded. Didn’t think there would be so many. Many seemed shocked to learn that I’m from the latest batch, especially since only one other 2013 graduate attended it.

It was a good evening overall. Met a bunch of lovely former graduates. Got some UEA goodies including a Keep Cup which I never got around to purchasing while I was there. And had a flood of fond memories sweep me away to Norwich again.

There are so many people I miss today.

Even got a very, very small video shout out from one of the current Malaysian society committee member. Aww shucks.

The Things I’d Brought Back From Three Years In The UK

On the 10th of October, I packed the past three years of my life into boxes and bags, and took a 13-hour flight from the UK to Malaysia. Leaving was emotional, as if half my heart had sprouted roots, refused to leave. Then somehow as I starting unpacking, I realised just how much I had brought home with me.

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I’d brought back the concrete walls of UEA and the cobblestone roads of Norwich. I’d brought back the line of ducklings in the river, the swan on the Lake, the sparkle of every firework erupting in the skies.

I’d brought back the three-legged cat, a Battlestar Gallactica Marathon, that funny moment just before a friend slipped on the ice. In my mind’s eye there is a castle upon a snowy hill, an arcade by the seaside and a country house on a landscape that stretched for miles.

Being locked in a lecture theatre when I went in to play the piano. Getting lost from following the silhouettes of too many churches. Watching the sun set and rise in the library (a beautiful and tragic scenery). A picnic in the Plantation Gardens. Smoky barbecues.

Listening to Of Monsters and Men in a corridor of the Union House. Watching plays in the drama studio. Watching musicals. The Woman in Black. Museums. Ice-skating and tobogganing. Playing Quidditch.

There are the wafts of the Wafflehouse goodies and the frothy Cromer waves. Pigs-in-a-blanket, Yorkshire puddings and mince pies. The caramelised apple of Brighton. A pancake dinner. Italian pasta in Florence. S’mores by a student accommodation. The crack of the crème brûlée the same way Amélie does in Paris. The ‘best’ fish and chips. A cup of tea (milk and two sugars, please).

I’d brought back a series of firsts. My first concert. That first time reciting my poems in an open-mic. A first Christmas dinner. London Fashion Weekend. The first time watching two friends walk down the aisle.

Seeing another issue of the student newspaper in print each fortnight. Cooking enough to feed a hundred. Mortarboards in the air. First internship, second internship, third and fourth. The dinner get-togethers. The takeaways.

A level of confidence I’d not felt before. A bigger pair of eyes and an open heart. The realisation that the world is much smaller than I last remembered it. The many, many faces.

I listed these in my head as the taxi drove me away, as I waited for the plane to take off (half an hour later than it was supposed to). Now I realised that I have carried all the memories and faces home and have no doubt that I will carry them with me wherever I go.

I can only wonder if, after three years abroad, I have left anything behind.

Train to unchanging lands. Maybe.

It was unusually busy at the train station today. Took a while for the queues to move but at least I am on my way.

This week I started my internship at SAGE. It’s very different from the other ones I undertook, primarily because it has a large London headquarters, with rows of cubicles spanning two floors, atmospheric with computer keyboard monotones that tap, tap, tap away. Sometimes I pretend they are the chirps of electronic birds in a jungle.

I have also been tasked with assignments that I have not done before, such as looking for potential book reviewers and helping to prepare reports. I daresay, with a heave of relief, that the people I have encountered during my internship (and indeed, internships) have been very friendly and helpful. Something I am incredibly pleased has not changed.

This weekend is UEA’s 50th anniversary celebration (it started the same year as Doctor Who first aired; what a coincidence). It will be the first time since I left for London that I would be back there. It makes me feel warm inside just knowing that a lot of people will be there as if no one left. And it makes me feel nervous too.

I don’t know why I should feel nervous. Maybe because it’s nice to think that Norwich will be unchanging, wrapped in memories of good times. Going back will only help determine whether it has. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Everything changes. And people did leave. But I will rock myself back and forth while this train snakes down the tracks from London Liverpool Street and whisks me away to that idyllic place.

Gone is the grey city and smog. Green pastures and cobblestone and concrete walls await.

Reviving an Old Project

Life has been going by slowly but I am doing my best to stay positive. In the meantime I have been fulfilling those promises of ‘yea, we should meet up soon’.

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I have also rediscovered an old project that I had set aside last year. And a way to revive it. I went to the British Library earlier this week and got myself a Reader’s Pass, which granted me access to the collections at the library.

The procedures to get hold of the books are strict, but that meant copies remain pristine. Before even getting to any room, you must show that you have a Reader’s Pass and that there are only pencils (no pens) and notebooks in a clear plastic bag. The only way to get the books is to place requests on their website at least an hour before collection at the main desks on each floor. There is also no removing books from the building. Everything feels systematic.

There is an avenue of research embedded in the pages. Can’t believe I didn’t think of becoming familiar with the library before. Doing research is exactly what I need to pursue this project.

And with this I’m hoping I’d be another step closer to producing a story of note. Keep Anika Noni Rose’s Almost There on hold for just a little longer.