Category Archives: Life

The road from elementary (Part 2)

What was most interesting about my elementary building in Edmonton was that in addition to grades K-6, it also housed an all-girls junior high school on its upper levels. They had to wear uniforms so the junior high girls were always easy to spot. When I was in grade 3 or 4, sometimes during recess, a junior high girl named Amanda would come and play with us. I don’t quite remember why she first started talking to us, but she’d come by every now and then. I really looked up to Amanda. I thought she was pretty, smart, and had a warm personality.

When you are a girl in grade school, you don’t look up to your mom or adults. Instead, you idolize a slightly younger generation, but a few years older than yourself. You marvel at their vast knowledge of the world and degree of autonomy. When they talk to you, it’s genuine conversation, versus talking to adults who would mostly criticize and chastise. I was personally captivated by Amanda’s independence and her success. (She was in junior freaking high! She wore the prettiest hair accessories! She had a boyfriend!) I imagined myself at that age, and I saw myself living Amanda’s life. I thought, “of course, by then I will be just as cool as her”.

As you can probably guess, I wasn’t even close to having all the things she had when I hit that age. I had zero fashion sense (track pants all the way), didn’t have cool places to go out to, and was nowhere close to touching a boy.

I always had a picture of where I would be when I got to a certain phase in my life. I look at the people around me whose lives I am envious of, and I picture myself being in their position. But then when I reach that same stage, it’s nothing like I imagined. Sometimes I’m better off, and sometimes worse.

By now, most of the people I know are probably finished school. We might be starting our first jobs in the real world or trying to find one. It’s a defining yet puzzling moment in our lives. I’m sure many of us are familiar with the “quarter life crisis”, either through having experienced it or maybe being approached by a friend about it. It’s a time of reflection.

I never would have imagined I would be the person I am now. So I propose to you the following question:

Are you where you thought you’d be at this point in your life?

What did you imagine you’d be doing in your early twenties when you were 5, 10, 15 years old (hell, even just last year)? The kind of friends you’d have? Places and activities you’d enjoy? Your role in society? Your values and attitudes on life? The things you’d talk and joke about with your friends? Your accomplishments? Relationship expectations?

What now?

A couple days ago I changed my phone number, from 519 area code (Waterloo) to 416 (Toronto). Of course, there were technical difficulties with the process but I won’t get into that. It seems that the undergraduate chapter of my life has finally reached completion.

I’ve tasked myself with the simple deed of finding work. It’s rather amazing how complex the application process has evolved into. There was a time when you just submitted your cover letter and CV to a manager, and if you’re a serious contender, go in for an interview. Now, hiring policies encompass everything from having to register for online applications, tracking down references, answering essay-type questions, standardizing tests such as cases, multiple interview rounds, Superdays, and probably an arm wrestle or two. Yes, the point of interviews is to “assess fit” and “determine suitability”, but some of these endurance marathons feel like an evaluation of how deep corporate can rip apart your soul before you crumble into grains of despair, and the extent to which you’d fellate HR’s middle finger.

So far the job hunt has not exactly been kind to me, and it’s making me restless because I can’t stand sitting at home all day with nothing to do. The guilt of unproductivity has actually been a great motivator for me to get other things done like cleaning up around the house, organizing my finances, and just all-around consolidation of my life. This lack of interesting things to do has also provided me with an abundance of time to sit and think. Think about my next challenge to myself.

The world is shrinking, there’s so much going on, and it takes a lot more to understand things.

Let’s talk about summer

Woodbine Beach. Image credit to Mattie

How is it August already? I’ll be wrapping up my studies in a few weeks. Lectures are long over, and I’ve already written my first final exam. It’s pretty amazing how fast summer term whizzes by, especially when you’ve missed the first three weeks of lectures.

So what’s next? I’m a little itching to get a job and start work. I got my time to dawdle around Hong Kong, and it’s time for some stabilization, at least for now. July was pretty fun – there were so many birthdays, I’ve become shit broke. Still, I’m looking forward to having a proper “summer vacation” like last year during the last few weeks in August.

What did you do right after undergrad?

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I suck at blogging

I deeply apologize for the lack in posts. I don’t really have an excuse either, because although school’s busy, it’s not that busy. Then again, life has not exactly been super exciting since I got back from HK, so there’s not much to report. It’s like sitting on a bench feeding bread crumbs to geese after jet-skiing through the lake. Mostly, I’ve been shut up either in my room or in a library. I went out a few times over the recent Canada Day long weekend (all these July birthdays…) and that’s about it.

To be honest though, it is quite nice to be home, away from the humidity, mosquitoes, suffocating crowds, and random drippy signs. The thing that bothered me most was that as much as I shower or attempt to stay hygienic, I was never able to feel totally clean. I’m also really enjoying the awesome weather we’ve had this summer so far. Last week’s heat wave would’ve been unbearable in HK. Hallelujah for air conditioning!

So to compensate for lack of any real content, I’ll turn this into a gimmicky music post! Again, I’m gonna try to put up songs that aren’t rampant everywhere. Not indie though, I’m probably still not “cultured” enough to appreciate it. New-ness of music is not guaranteed :P

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

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Snow Patrol is underrated!

Agnes – On & On

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Alphabeat – DJ

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Pixie Lott – Turn It Up

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Bruno Mars ft. Cee Lo & B.o.B – The Other Side

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Yes it’s a song about vampires. Don’t hate.

Rick Ross ft. Ne-Yo – Super High

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Epik High – 바보 (Fool)

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My other favourite off their album, epilogue, is Coffee. So chill and relaxing.

Hyori Lee ft. Daesung – How Did We Get

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You may know Daesung from Big Bang. He gives me the creeps, but I can’t deny he has a really nice voice. Update: This song is actually a cover of Jason Derulo’s version, which in turn gets its beat from Annie Lennox’s No More “I Love You’s”. You may have heard Nicki Minaj’s Your Love, which also samples from Annie Lennox.

SNSD Girls Generation – 별별별 (☆★☆) (Acoustic R&B Version)

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Two things about HK

APM Mall, all prettied up for New Years. This mall is open until 2am.

One. It’s so fast-paced that you don’t even have time to think. People are always rushing everywhere, and it makes you want to rush too. I feel like I have a million things to do at any given time, and I need to beat everyone to it. Nobody dawdles around, so when I do, I become anxious and speed things up again.

Visitors' viewing platform in Lantau

Two. Hong Kong does not occupy a particularly large plot of land, but there is just so much to do and see. Get off at any MTR station and you will find shops, restaurants, scenery, or some sort of activity. Seriously I have no idea how anyone can save up for their retirement here. There are too many consumer temptations.