A question of when: Terrorist Attacks, 28 dead in Istanbul

*Breaking News: 10 28 Dead in Turkey, 20-60 injured in Turkey’s largest airport, Istanbul*

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If you haven’t seen the news yet, a terrorist just blew themselves up Instanbul’s main airport. What the actual fucking fuck.

I went to google to look up “Terrorist attacks in 2016” and as I scrolled down the Wiki page my eyes widened… until I realized I was only looking at January.

It is hard to say how many people have been killed by acts of terror this year. Where do you draw a line, differentiate? Isis attacks? Mass death caused by suicide bombings? A crazy lone wolf with a gun and a mental illness?

As the world still reels from the Orlando club shooting, another headline fills up the Social media feed. And what can I do? Change my profile picture to a flag overlay of the country where this next atrocity has occurred? Express my anger on Twitter, Facebook, on this blog? Sit glued to the unfolding news story as the horror of a city, of a nation unfolds before us? That media self flagellation of speculation and talking to witnesses who escaped near death?

Security measures get tighter and tighter at airports for those of us flying, and yet we can’t stop assholes from blowing themselves up where the families say goodbye, where loved ones wait for reunions.

I travel a lot, and my anxiety grows with each flight, every new famous monument we visit. We were in Paris two days before the attacks in November 2015. It felt close, WAY too close.

But it’s not just airport and iconic monument targets.

It has been a year and a half since my cousin was held as a hostage in a cafe in Sydney. Just a regular day where she and her friend were having a coffee and a catch up. My cousin Julie walked out of that cafe. Her friend Katrina did not.

Why?

If we #prayforturkey does that make it so that these attacks will never happen again? Did it change anything  when we #prayedforparis?

There is a heartbreaking video that makes me bawl my eyes out, of a french father explaining to his young son that they don’t have to leave Paris, because they have flowers to keep them safe. It is here, and as touching and inspirational as that video is, it is gut wrenching when you realize that child is growing up in a post 9/11 world where terrorist attacks are the norm, and it is not a question of if, it is a question of when.

 

 

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The “I like dating this person but we’re not quite ready to get married so please don’t deport me” Visa

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After 4 years of living in Toronto, 13 months of Visa limbo hell, $3500 Canadian Dollars, 16 forms, 7 tearful calls to a Lawyer, 2 police checks, an Expensive english test, a medical (and a partridge in a pear tree… no… wait…) I became a Permanent Resident of Canada on July 4th, 2015 (thank fuck).

It was a touch and go race against time, a tricky maze of paperwork, and bureaucratic hoops to jump through.

The immigration laws in Canada for Australians used to be super relaxed. There was such a thing as a “Working Holiday” visa, open to all Australians between 18 and 30, who met the criteria (no criminal background and with at least $3500CAD in the bank) and the visa was good for 2 years at a time, renewable until you no longer met the criteria.

Until this year.

The Canadian government, notorious for it’s open arms approach to Immigration has begun cracking down and changing policy. Laws have begun changing and I luckily slid in just before these changes had the opportunity to affect me.

At the time of applying and back and forth with the Canadian Immigration Centre, I was (understandably) nervous that if my application was rejected, I would have had to leave Canada.

That was a shitty situation considering I have a pretty built up life in Canada with friends I love, an Industry I am heavily involved in, a family member who also lives here, and oh yeah – a Canadian boyfriend.

At the time my Visa application began to look a bit dicey, my boyfriend and I had been dating for about 3 months. We were at the shy “I love you” stage, but we were definitely not at the, “lets get married so you can stay in the country with me” stage (although this was suggested to us as the last last option).

I felt pretty awful about the whole situation and lost a lot of sleep over it (and gave myself an ulcer I think). At the time, things were starting to get serious with Jason, and it just really fucking sucked that it seemed like our only options were, breakup, get married, or leave Canada.

Thankfully, my Permanent Residency worked out and our relationship was allowed to progress at a normal pace without making any make or break decisions.

But my story is not unique, and the struggles faced by International couples are very real.

On our recent trip to Vietnam we met Taylor and Richie, a fantastic duo who had been travelling the world together for 3 years after they met in New Zealand. Taylor is American and Richie is a Scotsman. When we asked them where they would be heading when their globetrotting adventure ended (shortly after Vietnam) they told us: Richie was headed back to Scotland and Taylor was going back to the States. There was no working visa for either of them to live and work in each others country (I have since read Taylor’s awesome article for Verge magazine which tells us that she is in Scotland with Richie for 3 months on a tourist visa… yay love!).

The same deal with my two friends Conor (Irish) and Amanda (American) who met in Toronto and who need to figure out where they can exist as a couple in the same place at the same time.

These couples are everywhere, and are constantly trying to make love work across international borders. But it’s not easy. Many people I know simply cannot make it work without a clear concrete destination where they can both live normal, unmarried lives, and still figure out if their relationship is headed down a more serious track.

So.

What is my point?

Aren’t countries always looking for a way to continue fostering great relationships with other nations?

What better way to do that than to encourage couples from different continents to continue loving each other, fostering ties at the most basic level?

This is from the internet... I do not know these people but they add to this blog and prove a point so thereeeee, yay internet

This is from the internet… I do not know these people but they add to this blog and prove a point so thereeeee, yay internet

The traditional notion of belonging and “home” is evolving as globalization and international nomadry (not a word) become more and more prevalent. Doesn’t it make sense for governments to reconsider booting someone out of a country if they have a life, a loved one, a family? It seems even my married friends are struggling with Visa constraints on their partners. It doesn’t make sense and this issue needs to be readdressed.

Hashtag ParisforPresident.

3 Unexpectedly Influential People

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It’s a funny thing, how we affect the people we come into contact with. I like to think of people like blocks of clay, fresh and unmolded when you are born – straight out of the packet. And the people you come into contact with in your life are leaving fingerprints on you, maybe the more influential are molding you to a new shape, or adding bits onto you.

A book I was reading challenged me to think of 3 Influential people in my life. My mind instantly raced to my parents, both hugely supportive and massively inspiring in their own ways. With all the Film and Television dreams I’ve had (and have been slowly realizing in my real life) my parents have always stood by like cheerleaders, but neither of them are in anyway stage-parents. Neither of them have ever said “This is what you are doing. Do what we say.” I’m pretty sure my Dad wanted me to be a vet or to do commerce at Uni (I’m also pretty sure he told my Grandmother this pretty hardcore until I was actually ENROLLED to do a BA…sorry Faja), and I’m pretty sure my Mum’s only advice was “Do a degree with the name of a job in it” (oh how I wish I’d heeded that one!)

Outside that they’ve been pretty hands off.

So how do I find myself in the current life situation I am in? Physically, being in Canada I mean, I have my parents to thank for being Expat Traveler sorts who always made it seem so easy to move countries (which it is turns out) and then my friend Alex is really responsible for me coming in the first place when she was all like “hey wanna go work at a summer camp in Canada?”

And escape the reality of getting a job after my two degrees? Duh Alex, DUH.

But when I look back at my life and what drove me to keep pushing myself to get into this industry, how I got that first taste, and all the opportunities that feel like they were “right place right time” scenario’s, three Influential people stick out, and here we go.

3 people who made a Difference in the career direction of my life

The Primary School Bully.
We moved countries quite a few times during my childhood (I think my youngest brother went to between 7-9 schools during his education) and hey guess what?! When you move countries frequently you have to move schools. And moving schools means you’ve got to be the new kid. And being the new kid sucks (ever wondered why I make it my mission to include the fringe dweller/new kid in any and all situations – because I know that feel bro.) As an adult, I’ve learned valuable life lessons from those shitty shitty times. I can walk into a room where I don’t know ANYONE, and walk out with 10 new friends.

But lets go back to a time when I wasn’t quite as awesome. Primary school (which is Australian speak for Grades K-6). I moved schools 3 times during this period and suffered my fair share of bullying (let’s be honest, we all did, and if you didn’t…well guess who was the bully). Bullying sucks, whether it is physical, emotional or verbal. And I suffered from the Emotional/Verbal kind. There was a girl who made me feel like absolute shit. She excluded me, taunted me, tried to bring me down every opportunity she had (in later years she grew into a perfectly nice human being, but there was a time when I loathed her.)

Why do I bring her up in this blog post? Because she is linked to the earliest memory I have of wanting to be in Film and TV.

I had had an awful day at school. I was still relatively new and just. hated. everything. I was crying in the bath (remember when we had baths?!) and I must have been 9 or 10 years old and I remember so clearly thinking:

“You know what I’m going to do?! I’m going to become a famous Movie star and that will show *Bully*. That’ll show them all! Then when I’m famous, she’ll try to be friends with me, and I’ll pretend I don’t even know her!”

Kids are dicks.

But I am totally grateful for that (at the time) horrible bullying experience. Although the anger and hurt has long since vanished, the drive remains – not to “show them all” but maybe I still feel like I have something to prove?

The Production Manager
When I was doing my Masters, something must have clicked in my brain that the only real work experience I had, was as a part time receptionist and EA. And after mindlessly stapling things a few days a week, I realized if I had to do that for the rest of my life, I’d probably drink bleach. So I started applying to companies for any Internship (read: slave labor) type experience I could. And out of the 80 or so emails I sent, 3 people emailed me back. Two said: thanks but no thanks, and One said: Come on in for an interview.

The Production Manager I met had worked on some of my favorite TV shows (like Survivor) and she and I just clicked, straight away. She took me on, taught me things, treated me like a friend, and when an opportunity to work on a Reality TV show came up – she put me on it straight away. She told people I was great – and basically tooted my horn for me, she put me in touch with people she thought could help me, and basically became a mentor (unofficially). If she hadn’t taken me on, I’m not sure I would have fallen in love with the Production side of creating content the way I did, and I have no idea where I would have ended up. I don’t know why she went out of her way for me, but she did, and as a result I have spent the last few years loving the Film and Television industry from an angle I never thought I would.

The Producer (and Friend)
The third and final influential person is still very much a part of my life. Although I only met her a year ago, she is the reason I now have a demo reel to flash at people, and the reason I am back in front of the camera.

I started volunteering at a community Television station here in Toronto on a morning show. Pretty quickly (because I am excellent at making new friends) the Producer and I struck up a friendship and would be sometimes less than serious up in the control room (like the time she blasted Eye of the Tiger through the crew’s headsets, with me singing the bits I know and the audio volunteer getting more and more pissed-off). After a few weeks of volunteering to do the “Community Events” on camera for the show, she asked me if I’d like to go along to an audition for a Reporter Role.

And I said yes. And here I am, violating your homes through the magic of Television.

If she hadn’t thought to ask me or had forgotten, I never would have had the opportunity to do what I now desperately love and which has led to auditions at other channels.

The little things add up to big things, and people inspire you in amazing ways (even if you can’t see it at the time).

I have been very, very lucky.

Don’t you know who I am? I’m Kind of a big deal! And other tales from my experience as a Guest List Bitch during TIFF

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For those of you just joining us today in the wacky, yet I’m sure we’d all agree, WONDERFUL world of Paris (that’s me), Jambo! And here’s the spark notes on the important info:

I am a 24 (almost 25-sweet-baby-cheeses-that’s-old) year old Australian who lives in Toronto, Canada, but who grew up in Asia, and I am probably definitely the most inappropriate, coolest, and most all-over the place girl you know.

I’ve also been looking for a real job (read: one with a steady salary, and or benefits) in Film, TV, Production, Advertising, Marketing, Social Media…look i’ll literally do anything creative you want at this point…you want me to dress up like a Monkey and clap my hands while hopping around the office singing, ok i’ll do it. Let me just update my LinkedIn….for a while now.

As such, I have been temping, which for those of you that don’t know (lucky straight into jobs after your degree bitches…oh so you did a degree with the name of an actual job in it?! That’s cool, me and my Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Creative writing will be chilling over here with the cool kids) is when you get hired on Assignments to do Reception, Data Entry, Help at Events… etc.

So two weekends ago I was asked if I’d like some weekend work at some parties for TIFF.

TIFF stands for Toronto International Film Festival, and like, don’t freak out, but it’s kindof a big deal worldwide. I used to live in Sydney, Australia and attended the SIFF and even I had hear of TIFF and even followed the head of TIFF, Cameron Bailey on twitter (more on him later).

So I love Parties and I love Film so I said, Hells yes. Sign me up.

And it was glorious.

Not only did I get to meet some lovely celebrities I also got to talk to the people that actually make shit happen in the world of entertainment, Assistants to big name producers, Agents, Finance people, Parents of stars (Daniel Radcliff’s dad is potentially the nicest and shortest British man I have ever had an interaction with, he told me Dan was always ditching him at parties…sigh).

Everybody sucks up to the guest list girl (I gathered) because the huge scary gorrilla like bouncers standing behind you are only listening to you. If you say they’re in, they’re in. If you say they aren’t on the list, then step aside please. They don’t give a shit who you are. They’ve been working all day as personal trainers/bodybuilders/guards and are on their third redbull. You do NOT want to fuck with them.

And everybody wants to get into the “cool” parties where the celebs, and free drinks and pretty women are. And that’s where I was. Little old me, behind a velvet rope with a clip board and a friendly Australian accent.

I love how you can learn so much about people when you’re suddenly observing them from a position of power. You don’t know these people, you don’t have to suck up to them. Okay sure I was flirting and being friendly (and I did get some potential contacts and business cards) but really I was doing a job. Finding a name on a list, and if it wasn’t there, sorry guy. You can spout as many names as you want, they don’t mean a thing to me.

Some particularly noteworthy incidents:

-The coked-up finance guy who got so close to my face i’m pretty sure spittle flew into it, while he was grinding his teeth and ranting. Sorry bud, we’re AT CAPACITY. And you’re right, I did let the Celeb in even though we’re AT CAPACITY because that’s what I was told to do so the paps don’t harass them. Just doing my job buddy, nope I’ve never heard of you. Tell me again how you don’t wait in lines.

-The wife of the guy who cut the trailer. Listen lady, I’m going off the list, I’m sorry that you and your husband aren’t on it (he was totally quiet and not making a fuss) and I agree, it seems unjust, but i’m just doing what I’m told. Go ahead and call somebody from the producers office. When I get an update, you can come in.

-The drunk, 40+ women (four of them) who tried to get in because they met such-and-such at the hotel and he told them to come. Uhhhhh nooooope. You can get as offensive as you like and try to grab the list, but this giant guy behind me, Brandon, he’s not going to like that so…

In contrast, all of the celebrities, directors and big deal producers I met were excruciatingly lovely. Not a bad egg among them. Almost all of them THANKED me as they exited. Thanked me. Like I really had anything at all to do with anything. I just stood outside in the cold with clip board. Some of them even had private jokes with me because I’d seen them a few times and also…i’m hilarious.

Cameron Bailey, Head of TIFF and who I’ve followed on Twitter for 6 years now, I couldn’t find him on the list because they had put his name back-to-front as Bailey Cameron. Me, being the slow ditz that I am didn’t recognize him and said “i’m sorry you’re not on the list.”

To which he calmly replied, “I think you might find that I am” before one of the party planners tore outside and said “he’s good! Thanks for coming Mr Bailey” before shooting me a dark look.

Life is not dull.

I’ll give you that much.

 

 

Well at least life is interesting

Sometimes I forget that not everyone travels around and lives in different places as easily as I do. I don’t feel particularly different from the people I meet, and I try to live in the moment as much as possible. I have been living in Toronto for almost 2 years (June 12 is my 2 year Anniversary with Canada) and I guess at this point I’m surprised when people think its neat that I am from Australia.

Oh yeaaaah, I’m from Australia. Right.

People is People, as they say (in the muppets 1984) and to be honest, I forget you are all Canadian.

Buuuuut…eesh…awkward…I’m not really from Australia, because I’ve now lived more years overseas than I ever did in the land of my Parents and Grandparents (cheers for the sweet passport). There are days when I miss Sydney like crazy, but I realize it’s the people and the time that it represented that I miss the most (Uni days with the best girlfriends and guyfriends in the world). Okay I miss the Harbour Bridge and King street Newtown, the Beaches and Paddington, but the great thing about my little Navy Passport with the Kangaroo and Emu on it, is that I can go back any time.

And I honestly feel like I COULD just slot back in there. Familiar streets, familiar faces.

Anyone that knows me well knows that I secretly FREAK out when it comes to change, but they also know that I am constantly making myself do weird things and change-it-up because I am like two people sharing the same personality. One, a quiet homebody type who doesn’t really want to rock the boat and wants to live a quiet, friendly, calm, stable life, and the other a crazy, Adventurous, eccentric type who says “f^%$ you, I do what WANT!” And moves to the otherside of the world with no warning.

Like on April 3rd 2013.

On April 3rd 2013 I’m going home to Hong Kong for 7 weeks to work as an Assistant Stage Manager on a rather huge production, home to the land of my High School friends, my mother, and our Irritating but adorable Cat Guinness.

Guinness the Cat

Guinness the Cat

The homebody me at first dismissed the idea of going:

Homebody Me: What about the opportunities here you may miss out on? What about your room, you’ll have to find a sublet, what about…what about…what about…

But luckily for me, my eccentric side listened to the many naggings on my mother, and simply decided, “screw this, I’m going”…and booked a ticket, confident that the rest would just fall into place. (Which it always does)

And with each day that passes since I simply made up my mind to go, I’m getting more and more excited. Because the Adventurous me gets nervous when things are a bit too quiet, and what seems more fun? Temping and doing Volunteer TV stuff, or going to Asia and working on a West End like production? If the universe unfolds as it should, and with the Job market such a dogs breakfast over here…maybe I was meant to take this opportunity all along?

With my new 2 year Canadian work visa up for renewal, and the idea that I will continue to live in Toronto for the next two years, the homebody part of me is somewhat satisfied that there is stability on the horizon.

And the adventurous part of me is PSYCHED to learn some new things, meet some new people, reconnect with old friends, and generally spend some time deviating from the norm some more.

I am an Australian born, Asia Bred girl of 24 who lives in Canada.

Got all that? Good.