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.

When being a Receptionist sucks…

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2014 has been a pretty fantastic year thus far. I had the opportunity to go to Sundance Film Festival and Los Angeles, and when I got back to Toronto I had a number of awesome interviews for roles in the Film & TV industry (none of which eventuated into a job…but still! Interviews woo!). I then stumbled into a contract position at a TERRIFIC Film & TV company in a role I loved, and when that position was up, I told the company I would do literally any role they had going so as to stay in this multi-national Entertainment giant.

And Lo, a receptionist role was up for grabs – so I went for it.

While being a Receptionist is definitely not my dream job – if it pays the bills and I get to hang around cool people that may one day recognize my potential and hire me for other cool industry stuff all day, I say: why not? It’s better than sitting on the couch watching back to back episodes of Friday Night Lights (no it’s not, I wish I was doing that right meow!).

I’ve gotten to the point with this company though where I’m starting to really love every body here – and I wake up with a smile because I love going to work. The employees are fun and happy and everybody is in this business because they genuinely enjoy what they do (lets be honest… ain’t nobody in it for the money).

And yet…having said that… there are a few things I encounter on the daily which make me think:

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Here is a list.

1. Insane couriers…
Being a courier in this town is truly a calling/last resort. Why do I say that? Because haaaaaave you met Toronto?! This city gets down to the double negatives on the reg. Mother Nature is one bad bitch when it comes to this city by the lake. Most of the couriers bike our oh so important packages around. -15 + wind = you’re going to have a bad time. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when 75% of the couriers are batshit insane. From tragic life stories and clear social anxiety issues (I’m talking won’t look me in the eye/mumbling)  to: “look at this rash on my hand…what do you think?” (Hmmmm I think I need to douse this desk with hand sanitizer and/or light it on fire ewwww ew ew) I have met them all. I’ve had full blown disagreements with men old enough to be my grandfather because a box was actually 2.5lb and not 1lb as stated on the pickup slip. Listen dude, I’m just waiting til you leave so I can get back on Buzzfeed…

2. So my idea is…
Everybody has an idea for a Film or Television show – most people watch a lot of bad Film and TV and think that they could do better and while I’m not disputing that that is necessarily true – you can’t just wander off the street and sit down with someone to discuss your amazing idea. There is a process involved (that I’m still trying to work out myself!) and yet in come these uber confident wanna-be producers, with no meeting and nothing on paper – expecting…what exactly? If confidence and the balls to actually show up were all it took – you’d be in a corner office in no time. As it is…um I’ll take a message?

3. I want to be a star…!
The truth is that the company I work for does produce TV shows here in Toronto. Again, there is a process, there are casting directors, auditions, call backs, none of which occurs here. We’re the corporate office, not a sound stage or an agency. You can’t just drop off your showreel or headshot to me… I’m not sure what to do with it. Also, I’m answering the phones and sending the Fedex’s – does it seem like I have “pull”? Maybe… in how to re-arrange the contents of the fridge…otherwise sorry! Can’t help you.

4. How can I get in contact with…?
While I definitely recognize some of the faces that play in the loop of our shows (over and over and over and over and over…) I couldn’t name a quarter of the actors or tell you anything about them (except I’m getting sick of seeing butts and violence on repeat). This is not true of fans of the show – who assume (apparently) that we know them (intimately) and would willingly give up their personal information and details. Errr…. not so much.

#firstworldreceptionistproblems

No but seriously… go away so I can look at this Cat gif compliation

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.

The Next Five Years

“Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans” is something my father has been known to say on occasion, but which google reveals to be a John Lennon quote/song lyric. Never is that saying truer than it is for the month of February, which at 28 days most years, goes by in a flash. Here we are March 1st and I’m thinking, we should probably take down the Christmas tree.

My Mum wrote a very funny blog earlier this week, about how she feels she is just hanging around in the waiting room of life. She’s 43 years old and all her children have fled the nest, and she’s not sure what the next twenty years will look like. Well funny that, none of us do.

A day after reading her blog, a package I sent myself six weeks ago arrived. During the Christmas break back in Hong Kong, I spent some time going through some of my old stuff that has accumulated in my mothers tiny apartment. I found my old school blazer (which was gigantic on me in year 12 and now sits the way my work blazers sit…ever an indication of aging and thickening) old programs from Musicals I was in, and I found precious newspaper pages on which I featured.

When I was 15 and living in Hong Kong there was a section of the South China Morning post called “The Young Post” and for a period of time they had different groups of kids (I think they started with 9) come in, photograph them in a couple of different poses, and then send then get them to respond to certain questions. The idea was that you would vote one kid out of the young post every week.

I only lasted 3 weeks or so. My downfall week, the question was “tell us a joke”. My parents had a thick book of politically incorrect jokes that used to sit in our bathroom (wildly inappropriate for children, but hey, I learned a lot about sex and sexual interaction from that novel!) Now, I know what you are thinking, I went ahead and did the one about the Nun and the Irishman. WRONG. Because somewhere in the back of my rude-joke-packed-mind I realized that these jokes were hilarious but also WILDLY inappropriate for the young post, I looked up online, “politically correct, lame jokes,” and came up with the following, which I used as my answer:
“What’s brown and sticky? A Stick!”

I was eliminated. Well Fuck.

But that isn’t where our story ends today. The question before the one that ended my career as Supreme Young Person of Hong Kong 2004, was “Where do you see yourself in 15 years?” And I answered the following:

“Wow! I’ll be 30! Well I hope to be working in a creative Job, maybe Acting because that is something I have always loved, living in some far away exotic place, with some really hot guy.”

Well.

This year I will be 25 and that means it has been ten years since I wrote that.

Let’s check in.

I am certainly living in some faraway place; Toronto is NOT exactly close to Hong Kong, and I’m not sure what I would have defined as exotic back then, having lived the majority of my life in Asia at that point. Compared to the busy, loud, crazy city that I consider my home…snow covered everything is pretty exotic. Eh?

As for the job…at this point I’d take any job as the endless weeks of Temping blur into one another and my sent inbox fills with more and more desperate and unanswered emails, (I’m totally kidding, I’m still working towards the creative thing and have actually had a couple of non-creative job offers suggested to me, which I have politely turned down. I didn’t bust my ass being poor and interning for the last 6 months to give up and take yet another Admin job which pays the bills, but kills my soul.)

And as for the really hot guy thing, let’s not even go there. You don’t want to hear me gush about Canuck boyfriend and he’d probably de-friend me if I did. But I think I’m on-track with that one.

But the next five years is going to be pretty huge I’m guessing. There is obviously no way of knowing (because 2 years ago I would have never thought I’d be where I am today), but the one thing I do know is that life is an ever changing thing. You can never get too comfortable with the way things are, for better or worse, and it’s always for the better in my opinion.
I find it interesting that my Mother feels rutted in her life when she is still in the prime of it. I get it that the hands on child-rearing faze of her life has fizzled, but she never gets to stop being our mother (sucks to be you) and she never gets to stop being a part of her already fairly eccentric family. Maybe that’s her problem (and I suffer from it to) there are days when things just seem too calm and normal.

And that is freaky.
The good news is that she has the next generation to look forward to. Maybe not in the next five years, but, thanks to stupid biology, certainly in the next 15. And she’s already threatened to be the grandmother that feeds the grandkids sugar and lets them stay up late and gives them money to sneak out to concerts and will generally be considered “cool” and therefore loved more than me. Stupid ungrateful unborn, un-conceived children.

I guess we’ll just have to see where we’re at, twenty years from now.

MUM MUM! I’m going to be on TV!

I am looking forward to Tomorrow morning because when I wake, I’ll brush my hair, wash my face (usually it looks like a snail slept at the corner of my mouth because of all the shiny drool marks), I’ll try to put on an outfit that doesn’t make me look fat or emphasize the natural redness of my face, and I’ll put on my clipity cloppy shoes, take my handbag full of grown-up things like keys and left-over birthday cake, and I’ll go to the TV studio where I do my internship with a happy little jiggle in my step. Because Tomorrow I get to film a reporter segment. That’s right, some crazy person here in Toronto is actually going to let me interview someone and (theoretically) put that gargled-word-spew on Television. Where people can watch it. People who haven’t been strapped to an electromagnetic pulsing chair with their eyelids held open.

Yay me!

In all seriousness, I probably won’t be that bad. I’ve done five minutes of research on the organization we are covering, and I even went to their website. I’ve read the media pack and I am good to go. How much more prepared could I be? Doing this uncut, un-edited 6 minute interview with children will be as easy as squashing my triple d’s into that bra I swear still fits.

It’s going to happen one way or another. I just hope it won’t be too painful.

No but seriously, I am so happy to have this opportunity. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m turning 24 next week, and for some reason I keep feeling like working in retail is crushing my soul and making me question if I’m doing the right thing being thousands of kilometres away from my family all alone in a random country that no one in my family had ever even thought of before I decided I’d never leave.

Oh I’m sorry… I didn’t mention that I’m having one of those what-the-hell-am-i-doing-with-my-life moments? At what point do we just give up and say “Paris you are not just having a what-the-hell-am-i-doing-with-my-life moment, you just generally don’t know what the hell you are doing with your life” ?

In theory, when people ask me about my life-plan, I mumble something about film and television and Tina Fey and riches enough to buy me a sweet purebred dog and an apartment overlooking some kind of harbour. And in theory, North America seems like the place to be for all that jazz, what with its massive amount of productions and population and all that stuff. And yes, you are right, technically I should be in LA or NYC but I haven’t figured out how to navigate the USA visa website without getting exhausted so SHUTUP I’m in Canada, which is like wanting to Keep up with a Kardashian but instead sitting in a room with Bruce Jenner trying to figure out how to find Kim or Koala or whatever the other ones are called.

In the last almost two months since that weird vortex called Camp finished and I came back and joined the real-world after a summer of living under a micro-scope and fighting about who got which days off, I have applied to probably 60 film and television companies based here. I have written funny cold call type emails and attached my Resume, I have tried to network with people I think might know people, I have literally not stopped pushing at that glass aquarium that surrounds the entertainment industry, trying to find a crack. And whoever did the waterproofing has surely done a fine job.

No cracks are to be found.

I did have an interview with a very big production and distribution company thanks to a friend of mines dad (oh did I tell you I didn’t know it was an interview and thought it was a meeting so…kindof just turned up totally mentally unprepared?) and even thought that went AWESOMELY I (surprisingly) didn’t really hear back from them (outside of it was great to meet you).

I know that people search for the right job for months and months, and its winter now and blah blah blah.

But give this girl a break.

I am hardworking and smart and I have a pretty great Resume for one seeking just an entry-level job… what is it?!

I need the Universe to unfold as it should FASTER. I am trying to approach each day as a learning experience, trying to keep faith with the old patience and trying to keep working and chipping at that old job-searching thing but LORD is it exhausting to try to contact 60 people and to hear back from 4, all politely to let you know that they currently aren’t hiring.

I’m not alone I know. I have two friends who just arrived in Toronto trying to get jobs too. And they are in Finance/HR and Business. So it isn’t like it’s just my industry. BUT COME ON! We’re girls and we need to start making some money so we can buy nice things and take our boyfriends to trendy restaurants. This isn’t the 50’s any more. A girls got to work it.

Thank god the internship I’m doing is still throwing challenges at me and making me feel like I’m maybe not probably trying to cling to the imaginary hope of a career in this industry.

So yeah, I’ll let you know when you can tune in. Hopefully the Canadians will be able to understand my accent.

End Rant

(Photocredit: Icanhazcheezburgers.com)