Dear Philippines,

We were so young. I’m not even sure if I knew what it was like to feel love, or to learn through love at the time. I felt quite lost, and I’ve never been particularly open or good at making friends. I was lonely but I don’t think I recognised it in myself. Yet, I think you understood that. I was going through troubles with my mum and you were always comforting. You were my first kiss and to this day, I remember your musky smell and your warmth.

Remember how my room was haunted and the bed would shake and hover and spin around? That was some crazy shit. And the days we spent in the garden amongst the coconut and mango trees playing with the puppies. They’re actually quite beautiful; the memories we share. I still recall chilling in the hammock, telling you that I was the Red Witch. Later, we watched the birth of a calf in the open field down the road. I look back on that with awe, every time.

The connection we had was really innocent and soulful. I don’t think there will ever be another like you. I would like you to know how much I respect you and wouldn’t mind hanging out in the future. I feel like we would get along still and I’d like to know more about you, now that I feel more secure in myself.



Dear England,

I liked you a lot. Too much, maybe. You felt familiar, like home. And you were exactly my type at the time; sufficiently self-destructive! I thought I couldn’t get enough of you. Now I see that I was easily influenced into all kinds of stupid schemes. I felt trapped with you. It’s kinda fucked up, I used to love listening to all your sad stories and we would drink our sorrows away together, as if that was all there was in the world.

I believed that I was living it large. We got up to silly antics like going on stealing sprees around town and playing cruel pranks on people. Admittedly, we had some really wild experiences and the parties were fun. There was definitely a part of me that just wanted to escape from my life. I’m glad you forced me to see that early on. I’m also glad I left you when I did.

The truth is, you might have destroyed me and my deepest passions. I would never have known more than the bitter world of lies you made for us. You’re a blur in my mind, perhaps because of all the pain and suffering we went through, trying to get you to love me for the girl I was. But I still wish you all the best, I hope you found your calling.



Dear Aoetearoa,

I’ll always have your back. Let’s start there. You have been nothing but nurturing and kind to me, even at my lowest points. I’m sorry I couldn’t have acted better for you, I’m not sure if I was able. Thank you for letting me scream and cry in your arms. I’ll never forget how it felt to unravel in the Windy City; all you did was hold me until I stopped shaking.

I feel like I almost had to break my own heart in order for it to be open. You showed me the possibilities of real love. And although I was still angry when I left you, I’ve never stopped loving you. Do you still think of me sometimes?

But it’s better this way. I’ll remember you as a vision of happiness, even amongst the turmoil we went through. For a long time, I was ashamed of all the hurtful words I spoke to you and the way I treated you.  I think I must have been scared of how brightly you shone. I know you will be successful in your career and everything you do in the future. I’ll always be curious to know your story. Discussions with you were always insightful and often made me feel insecure about my intelligence. I think this stopped me from being vulnerable with you on some levels.

Yet, my eyes fill with tears whenever I reminisce on the joyous moments we spent together; laughing in the romance of Summer, at the beach, by the river, amongst the pongas, you name it. You have exposed my selfishness and shown me how sweet life can be, how sweet life really is. You will always have a place in my heart. Kia kaha.



Dear Malaysia,

We have learnt so much together. I still don’t think I fully realise the depth of the lessons we share. If someone had told me we were gonna fall in love, I would never have believed them. You were like an unexpected rainstorm, washing away my guilt and grief. How could you have so much raw beauty, yet be so clouded in smoke? How could I resist you?

Immediately, you were charming in all the ways I wanted. But you met me at a weird time. I had grown cold and numb inside. Outwardly, no one could tell. If anything, I probably seemed chirpier. Somehow, you saw right through me and I admit that I didn’t want to love you. I was done with attachment. I cursed relationships to hell. I couldn’t trust anyone. Yet, there you were, melting the ice around my heart with the strength and courage of your love, almost ferocious, like the sun at two pm.

It was a while before I understood our connection. Creative, profound and yet so natural. I was already on a path of self-discovery but with you, it seems as though we are always alchemising, shifting, changing, becoming. I really started to reconsider my sense of spirituality, that I felt had been beaten out of me.

When we are together, I feel like we catch each other. As a team, we are more able to acknowledge what is greater than just us and I am sent floating across the adhan. It gives me this sense of uncovering hidden truths about the world through an inner adventure. Thank you for making my dreams come true every day. You have no idea how beautiful you are and just how worthy you are of all the things you want. I love you for allowing me to reveal myself so I can see my reflection, and for understanding we live in constant rhythm. Who knows where this will end.


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