5 things I thought would be different when I left home

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It has been almost 10 years since I left home and went out into the wild, scary, unknown world of adulthood living. I feel like I was truly and utterly underprepared for what was out there, and had I known, I’d have pulled a jew-dude (TM) and stayed at home until I was thirty.

But just like with black, there’s really no going back once you have fled the familial nest.

I just had so many misconceptions on what I thought living away from my parents would look like.

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  1. “I can eat whatever I want!”
    Oh, oh…ohhh how I dream of the lovingly prepared home cooked meals of yesteryear. So angry and angsty was I, when a meal was NOT EXACTLY what I felt like eating, but instead an equal measure of vegetables, meat and grains. MEAT! Do you know how expensive that shit is?! What I would give, to have two middle aged people cooking for me three times a day…
  2. “I can stay up SO late”
    Want to know what I did Friday, Saturday and Sunday night this past weekend? Binge watched The Wire (because I’m about 15 years behind in my television programming at this point). I am a morning person, so around 10/10.30pm I start to fade fast. I used to think living away from my parents would be sooooooo wicked because I could just drink and party and watch movies all night long…Turns out my favourite thing these days is sleep. Yeah. I’m pretty cool actually.

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  3. “I do what I want!”
    So long as it doesn’t cost money. Seriously. Sometimes over the last few years I have had all of the freedom and none of the money (funemployed/between contracts) and other times I have had some of the money and none of the time (J.O.B). When can I have all of the money and all of the freedom? (right…right…when I rob a bank Oceans Eleven style…got it…have you guys SEEN that movie? It just came out recently in 2001)
  4. “I can date whoever I choose!”
    Remember when your parents hated that guy you were dating in High School and you were like IHATEYOUWEAREINLOVEyoudon’tunderstandmeGETOUTOFMYROOM! Yeah well. Turns out they were right. Man when I was single, I would have given my left ovary (she’s the gimpy one I suspect) for my parents to be hovering over my shoulder as I swiped like: “No. No. No. Yes Paris. No he will have a weird thing for feet. No. No. What about that nice boy from the coffee shop?” It turns out I just wanna date guys that my parents will like and not weirdo’s with spider-man face tattoo’s. Go figure.
  5. “I’m going to get a creative job and YOU CAN’T STOP ME!”
    In grade 12 when picking degree time came, my mother said to me: “Do a degree with the name of a job in it” and I laughed in her face as I applied for my Bachelor of Arts. I guess, if you were to squint your eyes, choke yourself a bit until no oxygen went to your brain and then smoked some meth – you could really consider my whole life one elaborate “Art”. “So what do you do Paris?” oh me? I’m Art. Yeah I studied it at University. In reality, life has been interesting in the working world (#noregrets) but I definitely find myself veering more towards the corporate world as I see all my fellow creatives struggling and think fucccckthatshit. Oh you live in a basement apartment with your sibling, sister and co-business partners and you work in a deli 3 days a week but your new album just dropped on myspace? Cool dude, Imma go over here and work on my excel skills though….

So many people I know have babies now. Literally holding an infant a week ago and thinking: “this adorable squishy baby girl is going to slam a door in your face some day.”

I wish I could go back ten years and slap some sense into my 17 year old self. Eat my free meals, get my free laundry, and remind myself that unfortunately…your parents were right. Uh! Gross.

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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…or maims you horrifically for life

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I like that saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”(WDKYMYS). It sounds good, it’s inspirational. It makes you think “Heck, things were tough/awful/soul destroying – but I’m still here!!”

People have appropriated that saying into songs (looking at you Kelly Clarkson), put it on T-shirts, tattooed it on their bodies, put it over pictures of sunsets and posted it on each others walls when their friends have been dumped by jerk’s named Derrick (fuck you Derrick you meanie!)

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I like the expression, but I don’t know if I always agree with it.

Because sometimes things kill you a little bit inside and they make you feel weaker, they throw off your game.

Was Leo’s character stronger at the end of the Revenant after he got fucked up by a bear, watched his son get murdered, was left for dead and then had to crawl through the snow and shit of 1800’s Canada to Murder my future ex-husband/baby-daddy Tom Hardy’s character? (Oh yeah, spoiler alert… but seriously if you haven’t seen that movie yet get your shit together – it was nominated for and lost best picture like 5 months ago).

I mean…I guess he was stronger – like how calluses get stronger on the tops of your feet. But he was also weaker because he had lost his humanity, and he was a murderer murderer and he was gross (like a callus – see how I tied all that together? Yay Creative Writing Masters degree)

I wonder if people use WDKYMYS as a way to excuse awful situations they don’t know how to extricate themselves from?

I’d consider myself a strong person who has faced some challenges. Would I exchange them for an easy life where some of the shitty things didn’t happen to me? Yes of course! I’m not insane. Faced with two choices: an easy road and a hard, bush-basher of a path, I think most of us would choose the easy option.

But life doesn’t work like that, and there are plenty of things that will try to throw you off the plans you’ve made, a death in the family, a financial set-back, a painful divorce, an unexpected illness.

So I propose a re-word. “What doesn’t kill you makes you different” – because not all things make you stronger, and thats okay too.

You are not a failure if you come out of a near-death-esque experience and think: “well that fucking sucked” and you’re not stronger.

End of Thought.

 

13 things I have learned over 13 flights in 5 weeks

  1. Push the bounds of Hand Luggage
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    Everyone has these mini wheelie dealie bags these days. They are massive and some are so crammed there is no way they fit in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you (they will check it for free at the gate if they are anticipating too much hand luggage in the cabin). I feel like an idiot with just my handbag/laptop bag especially when Air Asia wants to charge me $20Aud per extra kilo in my suitcase. Excuse me for having a reasonable amount of hand luggage and an unreasonable amount of regular luggage.

 

  1. If you’re not first – you’re last aka Queue up to get on the plane
    Passengers line up and wait for a security check during morning rush hour at Tiantongyuan North Station in Beijing
    No hear me out – I used to hate those idiots who would line up to get on the plane they would be trapped in for 5 or 11 or 16 hours FIRST. And then I noticed that the above (massive amounts of hang luggage being brought into the cabin) began to happen. Now if I want to defend my leg room and not put my bag in an overhead bin way over on the other side of the plane – you’re damn right I’m in line – me and all the other sheeple.

 

  1. Neck pillows do not work
    Seriously – who invented this garbage? Designed to make you look like a Knob and as comfortable as having a ring of foam around your neck – it looks comfortable – more so than your head slumping forward and jerking up as you drool on your lapel like an oozing starfish – but news flash – it isn’t.

 

  1. People LOVE THEM some tomato juice
    Ew – hey guys – wtf is going on with that. They’ve got your apple and orange juice there, a wide selection of free alcohol and all the soft drink your heart could desire, good old H20 in spades – and you’re all guzzling away at the spicy blood of the most confused fruit I’ve ever met (and you should meet my family). No. Please stop. You are revolting.

 

  1. No but seriously drink water
    After Dad’s Deep Vein Thrombosis last year and the reflection looking back at me in the mirror, that of a yellow skinned harpy – I have realized that if drinking water means my blood wont clot in my limbs with the threat of breaking off and murdering me, than yah. H20 me up son. Water is one of those things that everyone could drink more of and its freeeeee (unless you’re in Bali or Asia where you have to buy bottled lest you tempt the wrath of the Bali Belly)

 

  1. Possession is 9/10s
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    If you get so lucky as to fly a less busy flight and there is a seat/multiple seats around you available, you have to think fast. Long haul – the difference of having a little extra space versus keeping your arms and legs inside a couple of arm rests is a game changer. So everyone is on the look out for more territory to invade. Sit in the middle seat and put your stinky feet on the outside chair – nonchalantly reading a book and signaling by your possession that these SEATS ARE MINE BITCH.

 

  1. Turbulence makes you realize how small you are
    Especially with nothing to grip except a moveable arm rest and a seat belt the only thing holding you down, to a chair connected to an aircraft that as far as I can see is working by engineering and magic.
  1. 16 hours is 16 hours
    Whether you sleep, read, watch a movie or stare out the window – there is no way to escape the waiting on an aircraft. People always try to give you advice like – oh take some Nyquil and have a rum and coke and boom you’ll be flying over Asia before you know it. Incorrect. Even if you fall asleep or watch two movies back to back you’ll think – oh man we must be almost there you’ll somehow check the flight tracker and realize your little plane hasn’t even left the continent. GRRRRR!!!!!

 

  1. There is always, always, a screaming baby

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    I’m thinking that like the drink carts the Flight attendants stock, and the cross checks of doors they do before we take off, one of the crew, maybe the head flight attendant is like “now hold on a second, who has got the screaming child? And have we given it coffee? Oh okay good, because we wouldn’t want there to be one moment of peace on this over night flight.” I realize as a childless person, and a former screaming, internationally travel baby myself that I have very little wiggle room here for criticism… but 13 flights later and EVERY SINGLE time, I’m not crazy. There is a conspiracy. Pass me my tinfoil hat.

 

  1. There is also always, always, a farty/wheezy/coughing old man
    And he perfumes the air around him with his natural fragrance. 10 points if he is in the seat directly in front or beside you and you fear for your nose/health. *Shudder*
  1. I don’t know what I am eating right now
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    The most memorable meal on a plane that I ever had was the Hong Kong to Seoul Korea flight I took as I tried to make my way down to Australia for University. I flew Korean Airlines and dinner was a boiling hot bowl of noodle soup (ohkay I can have a bowl of hot water but I can’t have my nail file – but of course) and a shrink wrapped boiled egg… Memorable because the food was so immaculately presented and also because I couldn’t help thinking that the boiling hot water was kind of crazy.

    But at least I knew what I was eating! Over the last few Air Nippon (Japanese airline) flights I have taken, I have been given little packages of things I cannot identify or things pretending to be other things. Oh cool, this is clearly some sort of dessertOHMYGODNOW it is a creamy mayonnaise infested potato salad with fish eggs. Barf.

  1. So much of the planet is uninhibited
    I love to fly in daylight hours and look over the patchwork of the farmlands and see in layout of the world below. But travelling by night is something special too as you reach a cluster of lights that mark a city, the highways, the homes, and then you come upon nothing again. The vast blackness of the empty, and even in the strong moonlight you cannot tell if the spreading darkness is Ocean or Land.
  1. It is never enough
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    Whether you go for 5 days, 5 weeks or 5 months – the travel is never enough. In the moment on that beach in Thailand, or in the Mountains in Utah – you are taking for grated the beauty around you. You become immune to things when you travel, take things for granted – and it isn’t until you are on the way home that you realize it will never be enough, those moments with faraway family or drinking cocktails on a steamy rooftop.

    If home is where the heart is – then my home is on an airplane – travelling to my next adventure.

    Follow me on instagram: @ohparisimo for adventures

4 Reasons my iPhone 4 and I need to break up

I was late to the world of smart phones.
Blame technology illiteracy, blame laziness, blame fear of the new. When I left Australia in 2011 I was rocking a a sweet Samsung Slide phone

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And when I arrived in Canada I went with another shitty phone: a Huweiwei or somethiiiiing.

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It was only after a year with this phone – (which while not a cool touch screen phone, did have the internet on it – so I could check facebook on the run – game changer) that I decided to join the realm of smart phones.

The iPhone 5 was about to drop so I figured I’d go for an iPhone 4, which 3 years ago was pretty cheap (by Canadian phone-plan ridiculous standards).

We’ve been together 3 years now, and with an upgrade up for grabs, I think it is time my iPhone 4 and I broke up.

Here are 4 reasons

1. You never listen to me

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Whenever I ask you to go to instagram or to answer a skype call, your response is to freeze and then do the opposite of what I asked. Are you listening to me iPhone?! Because… I feel like you are not. This is why, first love, I think we need to break up.

2. You’re mean to my friends
You are always getting between me and my friends. Whether it’s when they call or text me, or when they send me something funny via social media. Facebook? Forget it, I had to delete that shit months ago because of your interfering ways. You’re ruining my (social) life. How will I know how Ashlea’s day was?! iPhone 4… It’s not working out. I think I should see other phones and you should see the inside of a bin.

3. I don’t find you attractive anymore

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I’m sorry, but I find myself checking out Androids. You just aren’t that hot any more. No there’s nothing you can do. No I don’t think updating my iOS is going to help. Please stop iPhone 4… you’re embarrassing yourself.

4. I can do better
Listen iPhone 4. We had our good times. But I came into this knowing it wasn’t forever. To be honest… I never thought we’d make it three years. I thought I’d drop you (on the ground) long before we reached this point. Don’t cry because it’s over, laugh that you outlasted most of your friends. Even if I don’t decide to go and bat for another team for a while (lesbian joke), I can still upgrade that shit to… an iPhone 5 at least (lets get real – I’m not money bags o’er here). No there’s nothing you can do. No I don’t want one last app upgrade for “old times sake”.

Encounters with morons

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There are  few people who’s advice I truly value. My parents (because they have known me since before I was just a tiny puke-inducing parasite in my mothers stomach and they honestly want what’s best for me), a handful of friends who I go to for more day to day advice (why hasn’t he teeeeeexxxxxttttttedddd meeeeeee?!) and those I perceive to have career trajectory’s I admire – the men and women older who are more successful than me in the industry I love.

And outside of that, I really don’t give a fuck.

Now that may sound harsh, but lets be honest, it has been pointed out to me on more than one occasion in the recent past that I have a bitchy streak (something I never actually recognized in myself until I took a few steps back). I am blunt, and I am opinionated and I am (starting to be) okay with that (or at least trying to tone it down enough to not make that part of my identifier… “oh you know Paris! The Big Boobed, Blonde, Angry Australian one?”.

I have lived an interesting life (Yay Passports!)

Yes, random new Canadian stranger I have just met, it IS kind of funny that my name is Paris and that I am from Sydney. Let us jovially exchange pleasantries as you make a joke about my name that I have heard MANY times before. I will do you the courtesy of smiling – because I don’t go from 0 – 100 anger quiet as quickly as a psychopathy might. Which is lucky for you because otherwise *PUNCHYPUNCHY* straight to the faceyfacey. I’ll wait for you to make the classic:

Why did you come to Canada?“Why would you leave Sydney for this?!” *Chortle Chortle* remark.
I came to work at a Children’s summer camp, loved it, worked for the camp office, went back to camp and then decided to stay and break into film and television which is what I was doing when I left Australia. I left Australia because I was over it, and I have the passport so I can go back whenever. Travel while you’re young, be adventurous, move away from the ordinary.

Good to know that you think I am crazy to have moved to Canada over Australia and that you think the Film & Television industries are very hard to break into. That is a top-notch tid bit. Let me jot that down in my dream journal for further evaluation.

You know zero things about my life, or how I was raised, or what my true ambitions are. If the conversation goes further (which pray god it doesn’t – but people are nosy curious) you might discover that I spent the majority of my childhood living in Asia, that my brothers were born in Hong Kong and Malaysia, and that my Mother now lives in Thailand and that actually over the last year, that tough to crack industry has paid all of my bills and kept me alive on the planet.

Shall I tell you my blood type and bra size?

People have opinions, I get it (see first paragraph, I am infected by opinion-itis) and generally, we believe what we think is the right thing – otherwise we would not think that thing.

But people live differently and if you think it’s weird that I move around a lot, tell me in the same breath that I’m crazy for leaving Australia, but also crazier for wanting to leave Toronto, then get the hell off my lawn. I think its crazy that anyone would want to live in the same place for an extended period of time. There is so much to see, so much to learn. 3 years later in Toronto and I’m still seeing new bits every day – still learning and exploring.

And as for my career choice, that’s freaking FANTASTIC that you gave up on your dreams to live “in the real world” and get a “real job”. I would blow my brains out if I felt I had to do something I didn’t love because it was the mature and right thing to do. Maybe I am neither mature or responsible, but my credit rating says I am, so go fuck yourself.

You think it’s insane I would want to move to LA, New York or London to pursue those ambitions? It’s too expensive/hard/competitive? That may be. I might try and I might fail, but at least I learned and went for it. Thank you for giving up before you even attempted it, the bodies of the apathetic were the easiest to climb over as I made my way to the top.

I don’t know why this enraged me so much today – maybe it’s the repetitiveness of these types of conversations – but holy fuck the relief of talking to other expatriates/third culture kids.

I’ve often written about feeling disembodied from a sense of “home” and a belonging to a specific group of people. But the older I get the more this becomes apparent – my home is a floating web of hummingbirds (be they the internationals, or the creatives), who rest gently in a place, gather experience and then shoot off again. Those are my people – the people who can’t sit still. You think we’re weird? But we think you’re fucking weirder.

No matter how long I live in a place I will never truly belong there because my collective experiences will always mark me as foreign. Perhaps there are pockets, in expatriate communities in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore… but there again the expatriate communities cling like barnacles to the hull of a country.

It’s cool, my anger at your moronic assertion of your opinions evaporates. We walk away and you become another faceless idiot.

I write a blog about you and the world turns. I send up a silent thank you to the universe (and the people who shaped my life and world) that I am educated, wealthy, safe and supported, and we all go about our days.

The end.

Paris

 

The Salt and Vinegar Goldfish Plea

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I have an extremely addictive personality. If I like something, I have to have/do/watch it every day until I hate it and I can’t stand the taste/sight/smell of it.

Addictive personalities run in my family. It’s why I tend to stay away from drugs (and pokemon).

I can have nothing or I have to have it all.

There is no in between for me.

The thing is, I know this about myself. I love a thing too hard, until I kill it, like a toddler and a kitten (gentle pats Paris…NO!)

There are two ways an addiction can go with me, I’ll either come to the end of it and accept it (like TV show series) and the addiction will die down (until I attempt a re-watch-athon) or I will get over it (hence the can’t stand it thing as mentioned above.)

There is a third element to my addictions, it is something that rarely happens but it does from time to time.

I will become insanely addicted to a food product, and then because of my geographical nomadicness, that item will not be available to me.

This has happened with many Australian products (which I must say are slowly infiltrating the North American market – like Tim Tams) and quite a few Hong Kong products (although nothing can ever quite compete with fresh Hong Kong street food).

The craving for products from overseas is too much to handle at times, but somewhere in the addiction center of my mind I realize that it was my choice to move away from such deliciousness the knowledge that the lack of a product it is self inflicted, diminishes the stranglehold somewhat.

But what if something I was addicted to suddenly became unavailable? What of the terror then?

It is that which led me to reach out to Pepperidge Farms this week and compose the following letter:

To Whom it May Concern
I’m an Australian who has been living in Toronto, Canada for almost three years. I originally came to work in a summer camp up in a small town in Ontario called Haliburton. There wasn’t much going on in Haliburton. There was a bar (where we would spend our one free evening a week getting hammered and awkwardly making out with other Councillors) an ice cream place, and a supermarket.

It was at this supermarket that I discovered your Salt and Vinegar goldfish. I would buy three packs on a day off, hoping they would last me until the next free day, but sadly admitting to myself that they would probably only last until the next morning (If I hid them well enough from the other Councillors/campers/myself).

The following summer a similar pattern ensued, although I got wise, I bulk bought them before camp so there was a seemingly never ending supply.

That was almost 2 summers ago. Now that I am in the city full time, I have been to numerous supermarkets, convenience stores…anywhere that might sell your delicious product.

And I can’t find it…anywhere!

Salt and Vinegar Goldfish were the first thing I truly loved in North America, that was better than what we had back in the land down under (very superior candy/chip selection I’m sorry to say…except for this!) The Canadians can keep their poutine and their aisles and aisles of BBQ sauce, I just need to know that there are still Salt and Vinegar Goldfish out there.

Tell me they still live, and then tell me where that magical place is so I can consume them all!

This is word for word the letter I wrote to the manufacturers of those sweetly addictive fish-shaped crackers (i’ll admit I took out the word “crappy” before poutine… Pepperidge farms is an American company and in many ways…I wanted to suck up to them… don’t tell poutine… I still need that shit).

I’m not sure if my email will reach a real live human, or if someone in customer service will think that I am in fact a lunatic, and swiftly delete my email.

But the addiction demanded that I at least ask….

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I’ll keep you posted.

 

5 ways to downgrade last nights regrets, AKA What do you and Jesus have in common?… You both got hammered.

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It’s Easter weekend, a time to explore how many chocolate eggs you can cram into your face-hole without catching the diabetes, while also pondering how bunnies and some jewish guy play into things (I want to say…re-incarnation? As bunnies? Is it that?! Am I right?! WHAT DID I WIN?!!!!!!!!!!!?)

A three day weekend means extra opportunities to hideously embarrass myself while under the influence of alcohol, and much like that guy who talked shit about Jesus behind his back (because… you know… he thought he was dead and all…awkward) I plan to wake up on Monday with plenty of regrets.

Some people can walk away from ridiculous weekend shenanigans without a backwards glance and I salute those super villians. But for me, what with the overly-active inner dialogue that is running at all times, I like to stew on that shit… build it all up in my mind until I convince myself I can never be seen in public again.

I have a very specific way to handle these situations and you’ll know if I feel I have wronged you/allowed you to see how uncool I am in a weakened alcohol-induced state if I behave in the following ways:

1. Bake you Apology brownies
I’m sorry I brought those really rowdy Irish guys back here for a post drink at 3am & then threw up in the refrigerator (kidding… only half of those things happened). The good news is I woke up feeling terrible (in every extreme sense of that word) and immediately went and bought brownie ingredients so I could bake myself back into your good books. If you don’t love me now, I’ll make it so you get really fat, and then no one else will love you, so you’ll have to be my friend. I’ll be your only option. *HAHA! – evil cackle.

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2. Block delete you from my phone
I say pretty much whatever I think without a filter on a good day, so when you add natures truth serum to the mix, I’m basically a walking talking ball of blunt emotion and loudly assertive opinions. I’m pretty great at hiding my true feelings and remaining mysterious at all times (in opposite world – good one Paris *highfives self*) – so when I wake up after a particularly gruesome evening of truth-spewing, sometimes my go to move is to just block delete you from my life for a while. I’ll know you’re a candidate when I open up my inbox and I’ve successfully cleared our entire conversation history, therefore protecting my brain from the specifics, whilst also allowing it to imagine the worst. So if you find that your texts aren’t going through – it’s because I’m avoiding you. Forever. Or until you do something retarded in my presence. Then we’re square.

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3. Verbal Diarrhoea the horrific experience to everyone we both know
Have you ever heard the expression “a problem shared is a problem halved?” Well I like to think of it more like “a problem shared means that the more people you tell the less it stings because you get de-sensitized to people’s reactions by how awful it is, whatever it is you have done.” Also if we can both laugh at me, then nobody is sobbing. It’s a lllllllll good. Why am I telling you this story that makes me seem like a drunken physco? What do you mean it’s weird because we haven’t spoken in two years. Fine. I’ll just go.”

4. Deny everything…vehemently
I confessed my undying love for you and then made out with someone else while maintaining eye contact?!? That never happened! I have no idea what you are talking about. I wasn’t even that drunk last night, now help me get my handbag out of this tree. Good day sir! (Years later under the same influence I may HINT at the knowledge of such events, but some things get locked up in the vault and even photographic evidence won’t make me admit to any participation.)

5. Go AWOL
Sometimes when things are reallllllllllly cringey, I’ll make a vow to never drink again and I’ll slip quietly off the radar (for about 5 seconds or until the next big social event I couldn’t possibly miss). You’ll know this is what I’m doing when you realize no one has aggressively tried to make out with you while also screaming Destiny’s child “SAY MY NAME” in your ear, or because you’ll stalk a picture of me on Facebook and see I’ve lost a few pounds from around my face (damn you beer bloat) and I’m posting more photos of food (yep I turn into that girl) and not blurred photos of me tonguing some kind of bottle and glazed over eyes. This is the worst possible option for me personally because much like a reoccurring pimple on your face, I’ll go away for awhile and then I’ll re-appear, worse than ever.

 

Much like Jesus, you can learn from me.

You’re welcome.