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.

My Lighthouse

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Are you a human adult?

Do you find yourself unable to sleep some nights (even when you are utterly exhausted) because the great whirring globule inside your skull has chosen this exact moment to throw all of the personal challenges you have ever considered or thought about- into your face?

Maybe you trip down the rabbit hole of “what the fuck am I doing with my life?”

You wouldn’t be alone with that – almost everybody I know, childless or childful (is that a word…?) Teenagers, Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties, Sixties… everybody is trying to figure out what they’re doing, why they did what they did, and what they are going to do next. All the while maintaing an immaculately maintained and crafted image of themselves on Social Media.

You think its just you?

I will be the first to admit that the last ten years have been a colliding merry-go-round of lucky breaks, happenstance and the ability to fall upwards.
From the University I attended, to the country I now live in, to the jobs that I have had – it’s all been one big “OKAY SURE!?” + tears.

I’ve had my goals and dreams, but while they remain a lighthouse on the coast, I’ve happily gone down into employment mermaid lairs and boarded pirate ships that have been more than diverting. (Are you staying comfortable with all the Metaphors?)

 

It is really hard to sail directly for the lighthouse when there is an unpredictable ocean (life) you are riding on. I am far from easy-going, but to avoid sinking, I’ve tried to take the waves as they come – and yet I see the lighthouse on the shore and it gives me pangs to see that some days it feels like I am further away from it than I was yesterday. That drives me crazy – especially when you feel like you’ve rowed as hard as you possibly could and it doesn’t make a difference – the lighthouse feels like an impossible target.

Still following?

For a long time now I’ve struggled to be honest about what it is I’m even sailing towards – because for a long time, floating at all seemed like the greatest achievement (hey look at me I’m on a boat and I haven’t crashed into the rocks!)

At 2am, for whatever reason, my brain finally decided to admit to itself what it is we’re aiming for and here it is:

I want to be a writer.

I’ve spent the last month funemployed and in that time (amongst the watching of numerous fail and cat videos) I buckled down and wrote a screenplay that has haunted me for four years. A story that I started and abandoned with no real deadline.

On Friday last week, I finished the first complete draft, 83 pages. And while my bank account reminds me that I need to get a real job again ASAP, I’m prouder of myself for those garbage 83 pages than I have been in anything for a long time.

And all the noise and splashing and the disquieted seas feel calmer now than they have in years because I don’t feel like an idiot for saying I want to be something – I AM something. I used to feel ashamed to admit that I wanted to be a writer because outside of this blog and the witty Facebook statuses I craft – I hadn’t written anything. I felt like a fraud with my Masters Degree in Creative Writing. I’d never in a million years have answered “What do you do?” with “I am a writer” because what a fucking fraud!

Now that I can admit what my goal is, all of the jobs and the career I’ve been carving – make sense. Because silly me – you don’t sail towards a lighthouse, that isn’t what a lighthouse is for. A lighthouse is a navigational tool. It helps guide you through the rocky sea and warns you of danger.

 

Thats what my brain was thinking about at 2am – that maybe you don’t ever reach your lighthouse – but knowing what it is and how it affects your decisions, is enough to see the path. Isn’t that we’re always looking for? Patterns and paths that make us feel like our lives aren’t haphazardly thrown together?

Find your lighthouse and then sit back and enjoy the boat ride.

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

 

Things I wish I knew before I did my Masters of Creative Writing AKA you should have spent your money on shoes

Hey Past Paris, how’s it going? So adorable that you just turned 21 and that you’re finishing up your Bachelor of Arts degree. It’s a miracle you passed every subject (hey…a 51 is still a pass OKAY) and that they’re ACTUALLY going to let you graduate when you were supposed to. All those last minute assignments you handed in (some that you began the DAY they were due and were mostly just made up sentences that you hoped made sense because lets be hungover…you drank 7/7 days of the week) were totally worth it, and now, because that 3 years went by in a flash, you’re thinking you’ll do a Masters Degree because you aren’t quite ready to join the real world? That’s sweet, and a great idea considering Australia has this Higher Education thing where you don’t have to start paying back your student loans until you make over a certain amount of money (don’t worry – you’ll flee the country before that happens/at this rate – you’ll never make more than that minimum amount anyhow!).

Except a Masters today does not hold the currency it used to, dear old past me. They’re handing those out like free condoms at the walk-in clinic, and by the time you’re twenty two, you’ll have yours, and everyone will assume you’re a genius in North America (because they make them do like four year degrees or some shit) but we all know you’re just a chicken who applied for the program the day it was closing, and who nearly didn’t make it because you forgot your passport, so you had to use your feminie wiles (and your tears) to convince the dickhead at student services to process your application.

And that Masters in Creative Writing (dear god why didn’t you do something like marketing or business-y so you could actually find a real job?!) is going to be a great talking point… but here are some home truths:

More Valuable than your Masters, is the Interning you do:
The Master’s contact hours I had were a joke. 7pm-9pm Monday-Thursday. Sure there was a lot of writing involved – but I did that ANYWAY because I love writing. SO to fill my time (and feed myself) I got a job doing shitty admin (this is what  has led to more jobs in the future, so thank you universe!) and got stuck into interning for free at a Television Production Company 3 days a week.

This is where I discovered my true passion and the career path I had vaguely known I wanted all along. Turns out  I am a WHIZ at juggling people on set, in a production office, PR people, people I need to get things from (like permission to film for free on a set) 20 year old reality “stars”, major networks and crew. Turns out I thrived on the drama, and learn’t more in 8 months interning (and then being hired and paid!) than I did from sitting in a classroom analyzing the screenplay for Scar face.

Get used to Temping/Retail while you look for that foot in the door:

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Truth be told, had I stayed in Australia, I would have worked on a bunch more shows by now. The production company I interned at loved me (the feeling was mutual!) and they would have found me another position (in research or production). But I knew I’d get stuck in the Australian industry. And hot off the press from a breakup and the completion of four years in one place (I get claustrophobic when I stay still too long) I decided it was now or never to try somewhere new. And so I found myself in a new market, starting from the bottom all over again, networking and having to re-make contacts. SO retail and Temping is what pays the bills and allows me to keep trying to be as fabulous as I can be. It isn’t glamorous but I am damn thankful for it, and it is pretty crazy who you may meet when you’re in a new office/talking to customers. If you are genuine and people are interested in you – they will do what they can – you’ll be surprised to discover who wants to help you/the connections they have if they know what you are trying to do.

You need to learn how to use multiple coffee machines/how to effectively stack a dishwasher:

A run-on from the Temping thing. Mostly what I’m asked to do in a day could occupy two hours out of eight. Answering phones, creating a few fedex orders and crafting a couple emails. Mainly you’ll be unstacking/stacking the dishwasher and making yourself fancier and fancier coffees (mainly due to boredom and or your secret mad scientist sensibilities and not due to your love of coffee).
Maybe you should have gone to Barista school and not got a Masters. Just saying. You’d probably be making more money by now.

Mostly what you’ll write is your blog:
Without those deadlines and people breathing down your neck, it’s going to take a lot of will power to finish projects. Sure you’ll go through writing frenzies, but to actually complete something… yeah not so much. But adorable that you thought you’d be a novelist by now. Uhhhh-dorable. *sobs*

People who did boring degree’s will have way more money than you and/or actual grownup lives:

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That girl in the year below you at college who was studying chemical engineering that you stalk on Twitter and Facebook? Yeah. She just bought an apartment, is engaged, has a pet bulldog and makes 5x more than you did last year (yeah but her tax rebate was probably nothing so HA!). If you wanted to be rich you should have listened to your parents and done a degree with the name of a job in it (hey… Writer is a job…).

The good news is, you’re chasing your dreams and will probably not hate your job (when you get one) and will not just be living for the weekend.
The bad news is, while you’re chasing those dreams you’re going to be eating baked beans on toast at least 3 nights a week.
Yay for Creatives. *Hugs self tightly and rocks*

People are impressed you did a Masters of Creative Writing, because they always figured themselves a Writer… but it’s not going to get you hired…yet:
The number of times interviewers have been impressed that my Masters is in Creative Writing… well it’s a lot. The number of times they’ve been so impressed by the fact that I hold that degree and thought “we need to hire this ridiculously awesome girl!!” is not many. Scratch that. Maybe it’s none. (Pretty sure the interning thing is what has gotten me hired in the past)

There is a difference between people being impressed/jealous of the degree you got, and the way they figure that that degree equals revenue in their business/justifies your salary.

I’m sorry, I thought this advertisement was for an amazingly hilarious Australian girl who grew up in Hong Kong, can stack ALL of the dishes in one tray. is really good at Facebook and can make you an exquisite blend of hazelnut latte and hot chocolate. No? hmmm. That is strange. Anyway while i’m here i’ll just drop off my Resume…

You will probably think a lot about doing a more relevant degree/PHD:

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There is no way in hell I can afford international student fee’s here in Canada, so if i plan on getting further education – it’s back to Australia I go. And while that wouldn’t be so bad, I’m not sure I could handle being a full time student again. I may not be rich now, but i’m hella richer than I was as a student AND my parents were still helping me out at the time.
But I have thought about it. Two guys I’ve dated in the past got their MBA’s and people are doing the PhD thing now. I feel like, if I hadn’t done my Masters right after my BA, I would have appreciated it more (although moving off campus made my results sky-rocket and put me at the top of the class!)
But knowing me, i’d probably just want to study something fun and creative again, like, get a Masters in Stand up Comedy, or a PhD in Blogging.

 

I don’t live my life with regrets, and not for a second would I change my Masters degree, because I loved it, met some awesomely inspiring people – and got to do what I love.
I think i’d just make sure I had less lofty aspirations. Cos… like… I’ll be 25 in a month and I haven’t won an Academy award yet…

But there’s still 30 days!

OK GO.

My Accent is not as strong as YOUR accent, AKA: Autistic vs Artistic and THAT awkward misunderstanding

I’ve lived in Canada for over two years now, and sometimes I feel like I’m speaking Cantonese when interacting with the North Americans (I can, for the record speak some Cantonese, but it’s mostly Dim Sum and swear words…so you can tell I’m popular at parties).

My Australian accent is nowhere near as strong as it could be because of a combination of the fact that I have really not lived that many years of my life in the Land Down-Under and it has burnt off, because I mainly had British and American teachers in those formative first few years of school, and because of accent Osmosis, where you absorb part of the accents around you.

I frequently get accused of being British.

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And yet despite speaking ENGLISH, I am constantly misunderstood, laughed at by friends and have had people stare at me bewildered by simple requests because, turns out, we share many of the same words, and yet some of our lexicon is COMPLETELY different.

Here are some amusing examples I have compiled for you:

The Letter “R”
Not brought to you by Sesame Street today, but by me. As an Australian I pronounce this letter of the alphabet much softer than the Canadians. I say “Ahgh” almost, where as the Canadians pronounce this letter “Arghh” like a pirate.

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The difference in pronunciation is what creates most of the misunderstanding between myself and simple Canadian folk.

My Name
My parents have kind of boring names, and they endeavored to make sure we (my siblings and I) had cool, interesting, easy to remember names. I can’t speak for my brothers, but whenever I tell people that my name is Paris, most people make a face like, huh! cool! And no one has ever forgotten my name. Or if they have, they haven’t lived to tell the tale… so same thing!

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But I do find it amusing when Canadians pronounce my name back to me in my accent. Usually with a question mark. They say “oh your name is Pah-rass?…oh you mean Pearriss, like the city?”
No, like the Hilton. Dumbass.

Autistic vs Artistic
I’ll never forget the conversation I had with my boss at the TV station I volunteer at. I was describing a movie I had seen and told her “The movie was so artistic, I loved it.” She was shocked. Okay like you’ve never seen Finding Nemo. I get it. It wasn’t until she finally whispered “I’ve never heard anyone describe a movie as being autistic before” that I realized I would have to find another word. This has happened multiple times with various levels of shock/hilarity/awkwardness.

Toner
Another escapade from my first few weeks in Toronto. I had found a new hairdresser I liked and asked over the phone if they had Toner for after you get highlights (I am not a natural blonde… Q’uelle Suprise). After the hairdresser made me spell out the word (she thought I was asking for Tuna?) she laughed and said “Oh tonearrrghhh. Sure we have that.” Thank god they didn’t put Tuna in my hair after the highlights. That would have been bad…or maybe good? Fish oils anyone? BRB Tunahair

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Google Translate
Hilarity has ensued multiple times (for Canadians) when I have used a word they are unfamiliar with. Funny thing is, I don’t just spout words totally out of context, so you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about, even if the word sounds funny to you. There is an improv game you can play where you have to speak in gibberish and act out a scene and GUESS WHAT?! People can figure out what the hell is going on when actors are making shit up worse than the Daily Mail.

Me: Where’s the bathroom?
You: The what?
Me: The washroom.
You: oh it’s over there!

Don’t. be. a dick. You knew exactly what I was asking. You just wanted me to feel bad. Well guesswhatIdon’t so HA!

Australian: Jumper > Canadian: Sweater.
Australian: Bin > Canadian: Garbage, or Trash (i forget, some of your words get mixed up with American words, and we’ve already established that i’m bi-lingual in Cantonese and English, so it’s a lot to remember).
Australian: Thongs > Canadian: Flip Flops (how many times has THIS been an awkward conversation?)
Australian: Soft Drink > Canadian: Pop or Soda
Australian: Sticky Tape > Canadian: Tape (derp…what does she mean sticky tape?)

There are just too many to list, but the list does go on.

Today I tried to buy stir sticks for the office I am working in this week. You know what those are right? The wooden sticks used to stir coffee and tea in the office. Well fine what would you call them?
Because the person I asked looked like I was completely. fucking. insane.
And I am, sure, but not today.
And what I don’t feel like doing at 10am on a Tuesday, is acting out what a stir stick is.

GAH!

Canada you have a population of around 3million people and according to wiki, in 2011 there were about 250,000 NEW immigrants! That’s about 8% of your population.

Everywhere I go I hear Irish accents, South African accents, Asian accents (all kinds) European accents… There is a huge Aussie and British population over here (duh… we run Whistler!)

So the next time you think about laughing about someones different accent, just remember…

Your accent sounds totally weird to me too.

 

What I have learned from working in Retail for 1 Week

 

At the age of almost-but-not-quite-24-so-lets-still-call-me-23 I have just gotten my first retail job. Working in retail was something I was always vaguely curious about (because I had never worked in it, it held a sort of mysticism) but as to the way things worked out when I first started working during the end of high school/University, my jobs always seemed to revolve around desk work or teaching.

I started doing an internship at a TV company here in Toronto 3 weeks ago. And as much as I would like to say that I could afford to do that, and sit around on my fleshy little bum the rest of the time, I can’t so boo. Off I went to find a part-time job.

Minimum wage here in Canada is $10.25 an hour, and most places that you look for a customer service job, that is the going rate.

“But Whatever,” I told myself. I just need enough money to sustain me for 3 months while I intern, and then I will find a creative job that pays the big bucks, and I will spend all my free time writing blogs and screenplays, and watching movies, and trying to figure out the scientific code to becoming a famous, fatter version of Tina Fey, and conquering the world by writing, and WINNING ACADEMY AWARDS. This is going to be so great.

So retail:

What have I learned there in the first week?

1. Working in retail gets you sweet discounts on clothes from that company. I’m talking 50% off. If I had known that the continuous sale on clothes was a perk of working in retail, then I would have started doing this a long time ago! I would have worked one day a week just to get my hands on some delicious items. Don’t pay me, just give me stuff! In fact, I’m not sure that I actually MADE any money this week. There was one day where I bought lunch at the food court AND a tight, hot little red “sweater” and because I worked a three-hour shift (why is that a thing?!) I actually broke even….

Note to self: Compulsive shopper working in retail store = bad

2. Customer Service is really easy, and REALLY noticeable when not there. I feel like I need a special retail badge now to communicate with other people working in shops that I understand them. I get you bro, wink, flash them my badge, “It’s okay, I’m one of us now.” This is going to seem really bad, and expose how naive of a desk jockey I have been, but when people greet you in a store and help you find things, that really encourages you to get something and not just be like…meh! and leave! This week I was positioned all over, Cash, Dressing rooms, Front, and always (I was being instructed) be helpful, ask if you can find sizes, greet them, ask how they are… it really makes a difference! I went into a mall yesterday and was browsing around, and when no one greeted me, I left in under five minutes. subconscious. Retail = mind control… or something

3. People in Retail walk around a lot. I want to get a step counter because I swear to god I am burning off some excellent calories from walking around the store finding things, tidying things. It is a lot of walking around and standing. There is no sitting involved, and when you are on your feet for a seven hour shift (uhhhh so depressing that that equals $70…I must stop doing that) you really start to feel that ache in your feet and legs. Good. Add, lose tonnes of weight and get super sexy and offered a magazine colour to that list from above.

4. People in general, don’t suck as much as I thought they would. I’ve seen the movies, I was prepared for the worst. Customers screaming at me, unhappy, me, flustered with my accent which the Canadians this is wildly hilarious. But maybe that’s all south of the border in America land, because Canadian customers (thus far) have been really nice. They always compliment me on helping them find just what they were looking for, they always say goodbye and thanks when they leave. I’ve even overheard one or two of the regulars telling my manager that they think I’m great! It restores your faith in humanity to hear things like that, and to not work somewhere where people are angry or pissed off, or rude.

And those are just some of the loose observations I have made after 1 week in retail. I am the expert now, so come to me with your questions and let me solution them.

Paris

The Hole-eee-day Season

Ah Christmas! My favourite time of year. I am so into the holiday season that I have gone and neglected my (current) only creative outlet for ten whole days. Bad Me. I’ll punish myself by drinking the rest of this carton of Eggnog and eating that wheel of Camembert. I hope I’ve learned my lesson!

But seriously, there is something joyous about the gluttony of the season. The pretty lights. The present’s. The Christmas Tree. And of course the Carols. This year I had Michael Buble’s Christmas Special on repeat – which I thought was appropriate, his being Canadian and all, and this being my first Canadian Christmas.

I love the holiday so much that I ended up spending a fair chunk of change on the experience this year. It was my first 25th of December away from “Home” and so I don’t know if I was trying to recapture the childhood spirit of the season that my parents instilled in me, or if the Christmassy stuff was for my Christmas guests, mostly Jewish. I definitely wanted the boyfriend to get a sense of Christmas as it felt to me as a kid, lots of sparkly baubles about, Candy Canes, Ginger bread house (which he punched later in the evening as a way to break it for the guests…bloody knuckles aside it WAS pretty hilarious) and just a general Merry feeling. I think I pulled it off sufficiently well.

I was never really raised with religion in my home. I attended a Church of England school in Sydney (so I do know a number of the religious christmas songs + Christian prayers) for a few years, but the International schools which were responsible for the majority of my education were non-demoninal. So it is interesting to be amongst the Toronto Jewish Community (a vast presence here in my world), who have been nothing but accepting and welcoming. I have (sadly) been to a Shiva to pay my respects to a close friends late Grandfather, I have been to Rosh Hashana dinner, Hannakah dinners and Shabbat’s. So it was great to finally have a traditional thing from my childhood that I could share with my new friends.

We were definitely lacking in some of the finer Australian Christmas traditions (BBQ seafood lunch in the hot sunshine) or even more American style, Hong Kong Expat Christmas lunch, (Turkey or Ham with roast potatoes and pumpkin) and instead we kind of made an amalgamation (due to my hesitation to be in the kitchen all day). We had pigs in blankets (Z is from England and apparently that is what they eat there, mini-sausages wrapped in bacon – although ours were wrapped in pastry) Chicken with tomato spicy sauce, Roasted Asparagus with cheese and Roasted Potatoes with kosher salt and other secret ingredients. Boyf did all the cooking while I did the hosting/drink filling and despite the very random food and conversation, Santa did visit, and we did have a Merry time.

I hope next year, If I’m here next year, that it snows, and we do a proper Ham or Turkey.

But we’ll see! Maybe if I’m a very, very good girl and not quite so naughty….