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.

 

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3 Years later and I’ve still never seen a Moose

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The 12th of June 2011 is the day I arrived on Canadian soil, which makes today mine and Canada’s 3 year “Canaversary”.

If Canada was a dude, we’d be getting pretty serious right about now. Maybe move in together, get a plant or a cat, start talking about the future. We’d probably be quietly wondering if we’d squandered the best years of our lives, while simultaneously freaking out about losing each other because who the HELL can be bothered to go through dating and finding someone else again. I’d have to hit the gym and watch what I eat and get regular vagina maintaining waxes. Thankfully Canada is a country and I don’t have to fuck that shit off. Commitment. *Shudder.*

I like anniversary’s, I’m that annoying friend that loves birthdays, celebrates monthly (it’s our 3 month anniversary baaaaaaaabe, whadya get me?!) and generally counts time like an OCD kid counts yellow cars. I don’t know. It’s my thing.

And I like this particular anniversary because for me, coming to Canada was a big deal and it was the start of an adventure I’d never imagined. In the last 3 years, I’ve met people I never thought I’d meet, I’ve been to places I never thought I’d travel to, and achieved personal goals that I always dreamed of, but had no concept of actualizing.

I’ve grown into the adult (*cough*) I am now (for better or for worse) thanks in part to the decision to stay in Toronto.

People who don’t travel and live in other countries are missing out. I wanted to write “fucked” there, but that seemed kind of mean. People tell me all the time that I am lucky to have lived all over the world and to have travelled as extensively as I have. And to a degree they are correct – it was very fortunate that I was born into a financially stable family, with parents who took jobs in interesting parts of the world and who imparted their love of travel and cultural exchange with me.

But the part that isn’t luck is the fact that now I make travel and living abroad a part of my life. There is no luck involved, at all. I work hard, and I make living out of Australia a priority. It’s been REALLY hard at times. I’ve balled my eyes out in many bathrooms, struggled when money was tight, battled loneliness. But above all, I’ve lived, I’ve fended for myself, I’ve learned a whole lot, and I’ve burrowed down into my core and tested the strength of my metal (stronger than it looks fyi).

Thanks for the passport land down under, I’ll come back when I’ve exhausted all my other visa possibilities and have seen as much of the world as possible.

If I’m being honest though, sometimes lately, Canada has been pissing me off. Sometimes I feel like we are drifting a part – it’s not Canada. It’s me. I’m changing, and I’m growing and Canada is staying the same. We’re not quite broken up. I’m not moving out just yet, but I’ve quietly thought about how we might divide our belongings, and have been looking at my other options. I can’t lie that other destinations have caught my eye, I’ve even flirted with a few.

We’ll see what happens.

3.5 years ago, if you told me I’d be living in Toronto, CANADA, I would have laughed in your face.

Life is like that. It’s unpredictable, and so am I. Here today, gone tomorrow.

But for now, I’m embracing all things Canada, and celebrating this life landmark. High Five Canada! We made it this far.

Paris

p.s If we breakup you can keep the plants, but I’m taking the Cat.

5 Things I am doing in the shower, that is not showering

At my apartment we have a shower bath Combo (which is pretty glorious and so fancy) so that when I feel lazy or sick (like ever since I got from France) I can lie down and just kindof splash around a bit and then BOOM, I’m clean. That’s how hygiene works, right you guys?

But lets be honest – there is something to be said for showers. Not only can you get in and out faster than a bath, showers are great places for activities. It’s a time all of your own where all of life’s irritations just slip away.

For a very long time I was convinced that I was ACTUALLY in the Truman show. I thought there were camera behind the mirrors (this has a large part to play in why I always used to hate being naked as an awkward teenager, even alone in the bathroom…

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that and the film Candy Man which scarred me for life – I thought a man with Hook hands who could control bees would jump out of the mirror and kill me if I said “Candy Man” three times looking into a reflective service…I wouldn’t used a public restroom by myself for 2 years… my parents were furious)

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Thank god there isn’t an audience tuned into me at all times (I’m an attention seeker, but I’m not that bad…). If you were to observe my habits in the shower… you would have me taken off to a nice quiet room somewhere. Somewhere nice with padded walls and a TV set to static.

Things I am doing in the shower, that is not showering

1. Winning imaginary arguments (that have likely ended long ago or never actually occurred)
This is by far the most cliche and popular of the not showering activities. I know I am not alone when I say that I come up with some of my best counter attacks in that damp, white walled solitude. Witty lines that are just the right amount of cutting as to leave my foe destroyed, barbarous parting remarks that I re-enact as I flip my soggy hair over my shoulder. If only there were a way to pause a fight mid-bitch, so that I might run home, jump in the shower, think of all the right things to say, dry off, return to the scene and deliver a long lasting comeuppance. Come on Science, hop to it.

2. Trying out awkward voices and faces
By no means am I a professional voice actor (This face was not made to be hid behind that of a cartoon, I mean c’mon) but I definitely fancy myself a bit of an amateur when it comes to silly voices. My favourite thing to do is speak-sing the words of a song in a really terrifyingly shrill voice. Like “A scrub is a guy who can’t get no love from me, hanging on the passenger side of his best friends ride, trying to holler at me” spoken like a much more high pitched yoda voice. Then imagine me trying to do a convincing velociraptor… all while naked. You’re aroused. I can tell. You’re thinking… HOW is this girl single. I know. I know.

3. Sucking in my Stomach really hard to see how it would be feel to be super skinny
If I sucked in my stomach really hard all the time, man I would be so sexy. I could totally do it right? Just like never breathe or laugh or talk? I’d be like 2 sizes smaller AT LEAST. Try it next time you’re in there and marvel at the body you could totally have if you just weren’t alive and stuff.

4. Trying to figure out how much less I would weigh if I just didn’t have boobs
Is there a way to weigh one specific body part? Like do they have a bra scale that you can just sling over your shoulder and be like: It’s all good guys, I actually only weigh 146 pounds, cos I’m carrying like 10 pounds a boob of breast weight! Or for those with big booties, couldn’t they just have the lip of a seat that you could hang your ass over? And then you could be like I’m not fat, I just have exactly 14lbs of junk in my trunk.

5. Doing Sweet dance moves (I could totally be Beyonce’s back up dancer)
Too bad professional dance studios don’t have shower settings, because the shower brings out the FIERCE in me. I like to shower with music (it makes me feel like I’m in a video clip okay?!) and I like to bust out my MOVES. Sometimes I like to combine my witty comebacks with dance moves like take THAT, biyatch. And then I bust a move in their face. Goddamn I’m hardcore. Hold me back bro.

Isn’t it nice to know that you aren’t alone in your weirdness?

You’re welcome.

7 Things I learned about France

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Why do we travel? For me personally it’s a combination of the desire to never sit still or commit to anything (watch me run from responsibility, WEEEEEEEE!) and to big-up myself to old high school friends who recently just added me on Facebook (whaaaaat? I’m in France for the film festival… sorry my life is so much more awesome than yours. Maybe you shouldn’t have bullied me in fifth period biyaaaatch. Sorry can’t chat – #jetsetting).

But I guess another reason we travel is because we like to learn from other cultures and junk – I mean that is what I tell myself/my parents, so yes, lets go with that.

1. Everything in France tastes better than anything, anywhere.
As a long time liver and lover of Australia, Canada and Hong Kong, I feel I am the right person to tell you with confidence that the rest of global cuisines ain’t got shit on the French. Twenty minutes before my flight out of Nice airport, I headed over to Mono-Prix (some kind of grocery/clothes/homewares store hybrid) and snagged a 2.99euro chocolate mousse which was LITERALLY the best mousse I have ever had…ever…in my whole life. At an airport. For the same price as a ride on the Toronto subway. “Yes hello everywhere? Sort your shit out, French food is leaving you behind in the dust.” The French care about their food and it’s definitely quality over quantity. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t attempt to eat a new kind of cheese or try a new flavor of ice cream every day we were there. Yes that’s right – I am bikini season ready.

2. Everyone in France smells really amazing and takes care of their appearance
This probably isn’t shocking to you, but people in France dress extremely well and take mega pride in their appearance. Walking down the street to buy milk? Heels. Walking to the beach? Better wear my super fine silver jewelry and awesome lace throw thats nicer than anything ever that Paris H-T would wear. Working out? Hang on – I need to make sure I smell like vanilla and sandalwood and fairy dreams. As someone who is as delicate as an elephant who could stand to lose a few, I feel there is much to be gleaned from the elegance of these people. Also the French wear their sophistication with a big “fuck you’ attitude, which I also enjoy.

3. French customer service is the worst thing ever aka, the French are tired of your bullshit.
Living in North America has made me jaded to customer service. Never, ever, ever, ever, in almost 3 years have I ever heard a sales associate talk back to a client. The customer is always right, dontcha know? Not true in France. During this trip I experienced multiple instances of stubborn, rude, even aggressive behavior towards paying customers. I cannot even begin to imagine the shit storm that would occur if someone in retail in North America behaved the way some of the French did. There would be anarchy, or at the very least, some kind of beatdown.

4. My French is way worse than I thought, but most people speak English.
Perhaps because of the time of year and because of where I was in France, I found that my French did not really approve at all on this trip (except to learn never to say “La Chat sur la Table – as that in actual fact translates to something like the Vagina is on the table – oh how they laughed … at me). I hate to be one of those English speaking tourists that rocks up to a new country and expects everyone to speak my language, but in reality, most, if not all of the people I spoke to could speak English – and pretty well. Parle Anglaise? Oui? Sweeeeeet.

5. The Russians are taking over France, and slowly, the world.
After English, the language people the in the south of France are learning is Russian. You have been warned.

6. The French are insanely attractive
There is that expression that “French women don’t get fat” and goddamn if that expression isn’t true. But also, no one told me that I’d be in eyecandy central and that I should rest my eyes before I was almost blinded by the attractiveness gleaming from every sidewalk. Can you say “Schwing”?

7. I could easily live in the South of France
The sun, the people, the architecture, the food. I wish I had had more time to explore because this is a truly beautiful part of the world.

 

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.

 

There are boy shoes in our doorway…

Since I left home around 7 years ago I have lived in a number of different places.

Minus college life (which was 3 years of boys and girls and alcohol and puke and 3am showers and tears and best friends and avoiding people/eye contact at breakfast) I have only really lived with girl roomies. Not really a deliberate preference, something that has just happened. There have been boyfriends here and there, re-occurring toilet-seat up behavior, but for the most part, only girls, and single ones at that.

My current apartment is the three of us.

When you enter my apartment, immediately to your right is a big double mirror door which when slid either side, reveals two packed in shelves of shoes. Pretty, colourful heels, boots, flats, strappy things that could actually be weapons. We try to keep them tucked away. But we are girls and girls are messy, so often there are a couple of pairs tucked neatly (read: scattered horrendously) on the shoe carpet when you first walk in. It’s handy for that pair of shoes you’re wearing day after day (lately in Toronto…anything waterproof).

So today as I sleepily went through my morning ritual (see face without make up…cry…put make up on…cry less) I almost tripped over a giant pair of MAN shoes. Leather type things with no laces. Fah-hancy.

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I have seen this pair of shoes before.

Maybe three times now.

Shit’s getting serious yo.

My detective powers tell me that the shoes do not belong to any of the roommates currently residing in unit 1314 (1st clue = man shoes, 2nd clue = we are not men) and that they do not belong to a guest of mine (turn around, check bed, conclude no men there…move on). I have my suspicions that the roommate I share a wall with is not the man-shoe entertainer because I can hear every word of dialogue of whatever terrible show she is currently obsessed with.

Therefore, Watson…errr reader… I know exactly whence the shoe wearer went.

HAHA!

Detective-d.

If these shoes are going to keep appearing on our shoe carpet, I’m going to have to start thinking about changing some of my late night/early morning habits. Perhaps I could invest in a burka to throw over my head first thing as I make my way to the room of acceptable-appearance making. This would save me having to put on more clothes and also would save Man-shoe from being turned into stone when he see’s my face (I’m nothing if not considerate and also…vain).

Perhaps we could clear a space in the shoe room for Mr Size-12 so that I don’t break my neck as I race out the door…

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Should I bake a cake for him that says “welcome to our home Random guy, please don’t pee on our floor?”

 

Someone hated on me on Twitter…So I’m big time now. AKA Outta my way peasants

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When I’m not receiving packages, making coffee’s or answering phones  9-5, I’m out in the world trying to make my parents proud (and draw as much attention to myself as physically possible).

Sometimes my attention seeking takes the form of some volunteer reporting.

Oh boy, I’ve covered some of the biggest stories in volunteer journalism history, Indoor Volleyball courts, School Marathons, knitting clubs, rotary auctions, Panda exhibits… If it’s local and it’s community, your friendly neighborhood Foreign Correspondent will be there.

Knitters night out

Knitters night out

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Indoor Volleyball court

Santa

Santa

Usually the shoots are last minute and my preparation involves a five minute Google search and then a 20 minute mental scroll through my (limited) wardrobe, followed by a 20 minute argument with myself over what to to wear. There is not always a lot you can prepare for, for some of these events, often there is no more than a sentence online, outlining where and when and some variation of “come on dowwwwwwwn folks”.

As much as I tease, community events are really fun. People are eager to talk to you, and nobody has an ego (except for my VERY first ever interview on camera where an unexpected Z List “celebrity” chef was in attendance and tried to draw attention away from the kids at the fundraiser we were at – turns out he was AWFUL on camera and his PR pitbull was such a cow, she totally had me shaking with nerves and I fucked up tonnes of questions. As soon as he left we re-shot the whole thing again). People are usually just so happy that we came out and are shining a life (however small) on their achievements.

I don’t take myself very seriously during interviews (playing the dumb, blonde Australian works for me) but I treat the people I talk to with the respect they deserve. Okay maybe I’M not personally passionate about miniature trains or don’t know that much about the South Indian dance community, but there are people out there where that is a big part of their LIFE. And I think that’s pretty rad, frankly.

Interview about a new Zoo app - Toronto Zoo

Interview about a new Zoo app – Toronto Zoo

 

Ice Skating event Finalist

Ice Skating event Finalist

South Indian Fundraiser

South Indian Fundraiser

Live Rotary Auction

Live Rotary Auction

So it was with this attitude last Sunday, that I headed out to cover the East End Easter Parade. It is what it sounds like, a local parade with people from the community marching, with floats, and an appearance by the holidays finest representative, The Easter Bunny. I wasn’t really given much information outside of where to be and when. I hadn’t worked with this particular producer before, but I knew I would be out in the crowd grabbing sound bites from the audience when we took quick breaks from the coverage. I’m friendly and generally like things like parades! So off I went. No biggie.

When I arrived at the live-eye van, which had all sorts of wires coming out of it, I finally met a fellow reporter, Amy, for the first time. We are facebook friends and I’ve seen her perky self on the channel a bunch of times, but we had never actually met in person. She was going to give live blow-by-blows of the parade with a Canadian Olympic medalist….

Except he never showed.

Or actually he did. We spotted him waving to the crowd, perched in an open top car about an hour into our coverage. I began in the crowd but was quickly drafted to the booth to work with Amy narrating the parade. That’s a tough gig to do solo. And we had fun with it. We cracked jokes, I played the dumb blonde, we threw some cheesy stuff in there. Amy is smart, outgoing and way better at Twitter and social media engagement than I am (I can do social media when it doesn’t involve me – I used to be social media coordinator for an Australian reality show but I find it awkward to tweet about myself). Amy was tweeting some during the parade.

And then we both experienced something for the very first time… we got our first Twitter hater!

The tweet has been taken down or I’m just that bad at Twitter now that I can’t find it but the original nastiness read:

@Quick_A @ohparis Talk less and do your research next time. My ears are bleeding from listening to your useless banter. #knuckleheads

I think as far as twitter rage goes, we got off pretty lightly.

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Amy engaged with this “Mark E” person, but I was busy Sunday night making questionable decisions and getting up to other knucklehead like antics.

Upon further snooping of this bastion of philosophy and helpful “constructive criticism” twitter feed I found the following:

all I’ve learned by watching you is where to sell my jewelry, how to contact a lawyer and that the weather sucks. Thanks
@Thirteenmark13, April 8th (For those of you that don’t know – CP24 is another news source)

I suppose it is safe to say that it is not just my fellow wanna-be reporter and I who have offended the truly discerning sensibilities of this internet troll.

Well to each their own. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

And mine is this: I strive to do my best in any and all undertakings. Rather than sitting on my couch tweeting at young reporters-in-training, I was actually at a lovely community parade, reporting on it. Quipping lame jokes, mingling with the community, and hopefully learning more and more about live TV.

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Anyone can take a pot shot at someone else from behind the anonymity of the internet, it takes courage and guts to put yourself out there – ESPECIALLY on live Television, and not for a second am I not proud of what I have achieved in the last 18 months since that fateful first, terrible interview.

Yup, I say inane, bantery-type bullshit, and yup, I come across as ditzy, maybe even a knucklehead on camera. People LOVE being interviewed by me and I LOVE learning about them and their interests and what makes them tick. People are fascinating.

Even the trolls I guess.

And you know what this means now right?! I’m famous enough to have my first hater! Obscurity here I don’t. I need to get all new friends and all new clothes.

Catch you at the Pulitzer’s ThirteenMark13… oh no wait… I won’t.

Peace, love and Knuckleheadery

Peace, love and Knuckleheadery