So High School

Everything about this is hilarious to me

Everything about this is hilarious to me

Being back in Hong Kong is sometimes so weird.

In this fast paced city, so much can change. Leave for a year and BOOM they’ve just built all these new buildings and your favourite cheap outlet is gone and French Restaurants have moved in everywhere (this is no joke…where the hell did all the frogs come from?!)

BUT *screechbangwaitasecond* so much can stay the same. I went to an ANZAC memorial service on Thursday with my parents and the Australian International School (where I went for the last four years of High School) was well represented by kids in hideous Green and Gold blazers. And Lo, who should I spy, but my old Headmaster who is still kicking it (with more grey hair) here in Hongkers in the same job. I bumped into so many people who are still here doing their thing – same old same old, you know?

The great thing about Hong Kong people is, no matter how long you have been gone and no matter how much has changed, friendships and conversations pick up right where they left off. Having a happy hour cocktail with a girlfriend after 2 years, it’s like I saw her yesterday. Meet my friend after the gym for some fatty fat fat Starbucks time, didn’t we do this yesterday? Oh no wait that was 18 months ago.

But being back in this city also reminds me of the High School times I had and all the stupid High School stuff we did. Like…remember in High School when someone could do one thing, and they were out of your life forever?

It’s sad that I’ve realized over the past few years I’ve become much more judgemental and quick to get angry at people or cut them out of my life. I wasn’t always like this. Even my dad has picked up on it, and to him, I can do no wrong, right Papa?

In High School and at University I was the easy going friends-with-everyone type. Maybe i’m getting older and more jaded? Dunno. Whatever it is, over the last few years I’ve noticed a change in myself that I’m trying to rewind. I don’t try to have enemies…

But there was ONE time in High School where I did cut someone out of my life with the words “Have a Nice Life” and remained until the last few years, extremely angry, and considered this girl my enemy.

It’s not a particularly interesting story and it’s definitely High School, but basically, a rumour got started while we went away on our grad trip that next to all the drinking we were doing (our parents knew about this…they knew we sneaked out to bars with our fake ID’s) we were also smoking *SHOCK* pot. Now, the reason this rumour got started was because of me. I had always had a VERY open relationship with my parents about what was going on, and they’d seen it all before, and I made some flippant comment about stoners on a phone call to my Mother, which she then mentioned to a friend (a teacher at our High School) in an anecdote which then BLEW UP into a huge escalando! (Goodness me Beatrice, the children have begun smoking Marijuana!)

Just prior to this grad trip, I’d been having a HELL of a year. My parents were splitting, it was my final year of High School, my brothers and father had moved to the other side of the world, my mother was battling an addiction and depression. Not a fun cocktail. And this girl who I had been close with for four years, suddenly turned around and accused me of being a snitch and a this that and the other and told me I had to call her parents and tell them I had been lying to get attention.

Well.

Nope.

At 18, despite being a very emotional and extreme person (which I still am to some degree) I decided, heart racing, that because she and I were moving to different parts of Australia to pursue our University degrees, to not engage in this drama. And I simply told her to have a nice life, and actually, haven’t really spoken to her in 6.5 years since we graduated. I bumped into her a few times over this period, and after the first time when she tried to talk to me, and I (extremely drunk) turned my back on her and faced a wall, have had (obviously) thoughts about why I acted the way I did.

In what mind-frame do you just decide someone is out of your life forevermore in a moment? Life is long and relationships are hard and tricky and messy and interesting.

I’d like to think that each year I get older, I also get a little wiser (pfffffft) and so, this year, being back in this great city for two months, with the opportunity to reconnect again with my friends and family, I’d like to work on being a little more normal when it comes to people and relationships.

Ultimately as humans (like bee’s…i think) our society and our self is built on relationships and interactions (unless you’re that Hermit guy in Wales…but even he has to buy his milk from somewhere).

So I will strive to approach people with more tolerance, and remember that at the end of the day we’re all human and we all make mistakes.

 

A wider education

It’s hard to be creative sometimes when the days of office work whiz past and there are relationships and commitments and financial obligations to juggle. You have a blog space sitting right there, beckoning you to splurge and blheurghk all your ideas and musings right out into the open so everyone can see. And it’s hard, because each day that passes is marked UC, UnCreative.

And thus it has been over a week since I posted. I went from posting once a day, to three times a week, to when I can manage it. Rather like my Gym attendance (hello size 12 verging on 14).

But I have finally found the time, between work and social and all the other things that eat up my time to finally discuss something I’ve been thinking about:

A Wider Education.

My youngest brother is about to start at the University of Sydney (which is where I went to for four years), my other brother is mid-way through his degree, constantly looking for ways out – or other travel adventures to escape to.

Recently I’ve been reviewing the contracts of new international staff applying at our summer camp. Their resumes and cover letters are interesting, they all seem to be well-educated, thrill-seeking types who are after something a little bit different.

We have Uni students coming from England. We have full-time workers coming from Australia. I read their personal essay’s and look through their resumes and ask myself, what is it that attracts this group of people to this experience?

It is the same thing that drew me to Canada 8 months ago. The search for the unknown, the restless desire to be somewhere new, new experiences, new places, new people, actions which lead us to become more diversified and interesting, adding more colours to our shimmery identity, more skills to be learned. To add more strings to our bows.

There are plenty of people in this world stuck in a formulaic existence, to some extent, I would have classed myself in that group prior to ditching my life and staying in Toronto. I was good at school (for the most part), got good grades (except in Maths), did what I was told, got a good University entrance score, didn’t fail any units, finished my Bachelor of Arts and got my Masters.

Okay so I’m leaving out some minor details, like the fact I went to 3 different international schools in Asia, and that my family life completely imploded when I was in year 12, but the gist is the same. Each Uni holiday I would go “home” to one or the other of my parents homes (Hong Kong or Perth). I never went with my friends through their global trecks. Uni holiday time was family time as my family was thousands of Kilometres away.

It was only when I was doing my Masters degree that I realized I might have to put in a little bit more effort, that I wasn’t just going to walk from school to Uni, from Uni to the perfect job. So I started interning.

Interning is an amazing way to get a foot in the door in places, you do a lot of bitch work but you also learn a lot. I consider my 5 months of free work for Freehand productions as an invaluable part of my education. It was wider education.

Travel is part of my wider education. Living in Toronto, learning about North Americans from the inside out is part of my wider education. Learning how to move places on a whim, is part of my education, that I’m sure will serve me down the road. Even working my kind of boring office job is teaching me something, a core unit of study in the University of life (perhaps, how to sit the f*ck down, shut the f*ck up and get on with it.)

I try to never overlook the value of things I do in my life – even if they seem irrelevant or annoying, or wastes of time. Recently I did a VERY amateur dramatic production of a Panto – Goldilox and the Bears. I bitched and moaned, PRETTY much through the whole production. I constantly whined about doing rehearsals three times a week, but I now realize it got me through the heart of winter. It gave me a purpose and a place to be. It made me feel like I was part of a community again, and has actually given me an idea about putting on a show of my own.

You can’t underestimate the power of a wider education.

It’s the different experiences of each of us that make us more interesting and diverse human beings. I’m glad that I’ve taken risks and made mistakes, and had moments of absolute-what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life-ery.

I hope that if you are reading this blog, you challenge yourself to gain a wider education.