05 June 2007

Working holiday in Cambridge

Having implemented the required corrections to my doctoral thesis and unexpectedly won the losing battle against the Home Office to obtain the approval to get married in the UK, I can have my Scottish wedding as planned and attend the graduation ceremony after the honeymoon.

I'm so glad that everything is coming together after going through numerous sleepless nights, or nights full of terrors if I managed to catch forty winks.

Before coming to this pleasant point, I spent a week in Cambridge staying with my soon-to-be best man Dr Lin Yung-Yao in late May. It was intended to be a break to allow myself to switch off and get rid of the British red tape coiling around the Home Office, but finally it proved to be an alternative break, a working holiday. I had been busy painting the ceilings for Yung-Yao over the last weekend of May.

However, as it was wet and chilling in Cambridge during the English bank holiday weekend, I shoudn't complain. Miserable were those who came to Cambridge camping in the rain and mud.

Yung-Yao bought a terrace in Cambridge in January. Although he started re-constructing the interior of his 'castle' immediately after he moved in, he has actually been waiting for me to help out with painting.

As we are both fussy and obsessed with perfection, we didn't achieve what we planned. We painted at least three coats on the ceiling, including ghost painting, base coat and top coat, and super coat when necessary or when Yung-Yao desired. Moreover, in order to have shiny, smooth and blemish-free finish similar to crystals, every layer has to be sanded properly before we started next coat.

Therefore, although we thought we could have done all the ceilings and walls, finally only the ceilings were done. We reached a conclusion that we, the two perfectionists, could never start a business together, for we would never finish any contract work on time.

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