Happy Happy Hanukkah, Chandler and Monica

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I LOVE the end of the year.

Starting in October with Canadian Thanksgiving, and stretching through to Chinese New Year, there always seems to be something to be joyful about in the winter-time, something to look forward to and something to Celebrate an excuse to eat as much as you can possibly cram into your face. I mean, lets put aside that right after CNY we’ve got Valentines day (which I totally buy into – a little heads up any potensh’s out there) Easter (Chocolate…YAY!) then a bunch of Queen Related/National days (woopie commonwealth!) and then we’re right back at the end of the year…

Humans: Non-stop-party-rock.

But I especially love the end of the year. Thanksgiving has become a new one for me that I truly love, and Halloween in North America makes me want to chop off my legs, dress up as a ghost (easy, a sheet and two eye holes…who’s going to know?!) and get free candy (suckers). Totally worth it. That dude in South Africa who shot his girlfriend had no legs, and he was a total fox. I’m sure I’ll still pick up.

I’m very lucky to have lived all over the world, to have met all kinds of people, and to have been exposed to different cultures and customs. I always find it weird when people are like “why are they blasting Christmas carols in the super markets?!? I’m not Catholic/Christian/Religious. Why are they foisting their beliefs on me. I am offended. *meanface*” To which I ask… Are you retarded? Christmas carols are nice. And okay! Sometimes they don’t make a whole lot of sense. Like: I’m not worshiping some boy child that is the son of some King (ohhhkay fine, newlyborn baby Prince George – I’d worship him) & I barely know one wise man, how’d they find 3?! What is this nonsense tune? I’ll celebrate any holiday you want – so long as it involves eating my face off and pretty shiny things.

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, which is great because the majority of my friends in Canada celebrate it. I knew a couple of Jewish people in Sydney when I was in middle school (I’m going to go with…4,  three classmates and a teacher) and one in Hong Kong – my mums best friend. But it wasn’t until my friend and I accidentally applied to a Jewish summer camp that I really got to know what Judaism was about:

Durka (my friend I originally came to Canada with): it says on our packing list we need white clothes for Friday nights.

Me: That’s a bit weird.

Durka: Yeah it says every Friday we’ll have Shaybatt dinner. Whats that?

Me: No clue. Probably some weird Canadian thing.

3 Cool things about being Jewish (get ready for stereotypppppes – just kidding, or am I?):

1. Awesome Community
Never have I met a community that sticks so closely together. Supportive, well-connected, passionate about causes – people always ready to get involved and help each other out. Some people have described it as a bubble – but if you don’t like bubbles you must be a monster that also doesn’t like rainbows and cupcakes.

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2. Always something to Celebrate
Between Weddings, Engagements, Holidays, Births, Events, Anniversary’s – most of my Jewish friends are always celebrating something. I guess when the community is as big and close as it is here in Toronto, there is always something worth noting or someone worth Congratulating. And I must say that is nice. Life is short, be happy – enjoy the moments – that is what I have learned.

3. The Foooooood
There is a word for non-Jews like me, and that word is “Goy.” Similar to the Cantonese word “Gweilo” (male) or Gweipo/Gwei Mui (female) which literally translates to “ghost boy” or “White Devil” and was a negative word for Foreigners in Hong Kong, I believe the word “Goy” began as a derogatory word. But you’re going to have to goy-t outta here if you think that offends me, because you don’t have to be Jewish to love Latkes, Knish and Matza Ball soup. We’re all people right? And people have taste buds (sorry to those who don’t). The only difference between me and my Jewish crew is that I got to experience the joy of Jewish-mother home cooking in my twenties – so it was all new to me.

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There is something magical in the air (or I imagine there is) especially in Canada, with the snow, the glittering lights everywhere (seriously, nice job with the Christmas trees you guys). And while its cold and grey out there a lot of the time, I feel warmed by the idea of family, people randomly singing, lots of food, and the act of giving – drinking a lot and reflecting on the year.

So whatever your beliefs or non-beliefs, I hope you’re as excited as I am to get as fat as possible (any excuse) and balloon to a gigantic size so that when Summer rolls around, you’ll regret every winter calorie you ever consumed.

Happy Winter!

Here it is

It’s Thanksgiving in America this weekend, and while I am not American, nor do I live in America (North of the border YO!) I think it’s an important time of my life to take a deep breath and think about what is important and to say THANKYOU Universe and Science and World for letting me take my little gulps of air and to have blood thrumming all over my body in this thing we called life.

Because someone I know kind of died yesterday.

I didn’t know this person so well, he was a friend of my Mum’s and I met him and did a play with him when I was 14 years old. I knew him as a backdrop to my adolescent self-obssession, and later as an adult, as that guy who always posted a word of the day on Facebook (dang Facebook wall cloggers!)

And though I am saddened for my Mum who is sad, and I quietly mourn the loss of anyone who passes away at a time when they are too young (47), I am not a Sympathy Vampire, intent on packaging this loss to gain attention for myself, or make a statement about how this affects ME ME ME. I just note his death as a time to reflect and to take stock in a busy world.

Thank you…

Sometimes I think I’m not normal. Does everyone spend as many hours in their own head obsessing about things like I do? Do people beat themselves up as much as I do, for the passing of time and the apparent non-achievements they think should have come more easily by now?

Does everyone have this restless demon rolling around inside their ribcage, and a voice in the back of their brain that constantly cries “run away! What’s over there?! Look at all those people doing more fun stuff than you! Flee, jump, swim, out out OUT! What would Tina Fey do??”

Or is it just me?

I think it’s safe to say that most of the time I put on a very confident exterior. I just seem to get on with things. I move countries. No big. I settle in wherever. Whatevs. People have used the word brave to describe me before..

But the ugly truth of the matter is that I am a roiling rack of insecurities, fear and uncertainty. I second guess every single move I make, and it is exhausting. There is no harsher critic than yourself. And I have begun to realize that perhaps that level of  self-criticism is too hard to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Maybe it’s my oldest child syndrome forcing me to be an overachiever, or the small child in me that was bullied badly in those early years who made a vow one evening in the bathtub (I’ll show you, I’ll show all of you! I’ll get so famous and then I’ll pretend I forgot your name!), but enough is never enough. Up until this point I have never been working hard “enough” I have never made “enough” money, it’s never quiet as bright and sparkly “enough” I’m not thin “enough”.

I’ve come to realize that people don’t often talk about painful things, or things they think will put them in a lesser light. The population is afraid to look weak, or maybe we’re all just Keeping up with the Kardashians. And as a result, everybody secretly thinks they’re sucking way worse than everybody else.

That they aren’t “Good Enough.”

And that’s how I feel sometimes.

Like when my visa was screwed up, I felt like I hadn’t been prepared, and when I couldn’t get it fixed and felt like a goldfish lost in the ocean, I felt like I was failing at life. As the dollars in my bank account dwindled, and my stress levels rose, I wondered how all the other 24-year-old wannabe’s out there were doing it.

Because no one ever said to me “You know what Paris, this week I feel like I’m really fucked and sucking at all this reality.” And so I thought, “oh, it’s just me that sucks then.”

The truth is, I’m less financially secure than I have ever been in my life. I’m finally getting some TV experience and I love it, but after applying for hundreds of jobs, there is still nothing paying coming my way. I have two degree’s behind me, and I’m starting to think I should have taken four years of work experience over the higher-learning. I wonder all the time about whether I should pack in this North American adventure and head for the hills (aka either of my parents houses). I’m trying to decide if I’m making any progress, or if I’m a seagull trapped behind a glass door, continuously bashing its head against a barrier it can’t see and the thing it craves.

I’m thankful for:
My Family, who are far away, but who I love and who I miss. The older I get, the more clearly their cracks and lumps and bumps become apparent to me, but the same goes for me, and they seem to still like me anyway.

My boyfriend and my friends-wherever they may be in the world.

My ability to read and write, two of my greatest loves in this world.

Being healthy. That’s a big one, one that I know you are supposed to be thankful for, but which I never truly appreciate.

The safety I enjoy by being an Australian Citizen, for the ability to live in countries of my choice, and live in peace.

It’s not a long list, and it’s not detailed. But for richer or poorer, those are the things that matter to me. I could specify, and I have private lists that go on and on. But those are the main things, and even when I am staring down the barrel of a potentially stressful few months, or stuck inside my own head over analysing the little things and driving myself crazy, I remember (somewhere in the recesses of that other part of me that is actually pretty practical and on top of things) that I will be okay. And that my life is a tiny blip compared to the age of the earth and the stars.

End Rant.

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….