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.

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.

 

5 ways to downgrade last nights regrets, AKA What do you and Jesus have in common?… You both got hammered.

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It’s Easter weekend, a time to explore how many chocolate eggs you can cram into your face-hole without catching the diabetes, while also pondering how bunnies and some jewish guy play into things (I want to say…re-incarnation? As bunnies? Is it that?! Am I right?! WHAT DID I WIN?!!!!!!!!!!!?)

A three day weekend means extra opportunities to hideously embarrass myself while under the influence of alcohol, and much like that guy who talked shit about Jesus behind his back (because… you know… he thought he was dead and all…awkward) I plan to wake up on Monday with plenty of regrets.

Some people can walk away from ridiculous weekend shenanigans without a backwards glance and I salute those super villians. But for me, what with the overly-active inner dialogue that is running at all times, I like to stew on that shit… build it all up in my mind until I convince myself I can never be seen in public again.

I have a very specific way to handle these situations and you’ll know if I feel I have wronged you/allowed you to see how uncool I am in a weakened alcohol-induced state if I behave in the following ways:

1. Bake you Apology brownies
I’m sorry I brought those really rowdy Irish guys back here for a post drink at 3am & then threw up in the refrigerator (kidding… only half of those things happened). The good news is I woke up feeling terrible (in every extreme sense of that word) and immediately went and bought brownie ingredients so I could bake myself back into your good books. If you don’t love me now, I’ll make it so you get really fat, and then no one else will love you, so you’ll have to be my friend. I’ll be your only option. *HAHA! – evil cackle.

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2. Block delete you from my phone
I say pretty much whatever I think without a filter on a good day, so when you add natures truth serum to the mix, I’m basically a walking talking ball of blunt emotion and loudly assertive opinions. I’m pretty great at hiding my true feelings and remaining mysterious at all times (in opposite world – good one Paris *highfives self*) – so when I wake up after a particularly gruesome evening of truth-spewing, sometimes my go to move is to just block delete you from my life for a while. I’ll know you’re a candidate when I open up my inbox and I’ve successfully cleared our entire conversation history, therefore protecting my brain from the specifics, whilst also allowing it to imagine the worst. So if you find that your texts aren’t going through – it’s because I’m avoiding you. Forever. Or until you do something retarded in my presence. Then we’re square.

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3. Verbal Diarrhoea the horrific experience to everyone we both know
Have you ever heard the expression “a problem shared is a problem halved?” Well I like to think of it more like “a problem shared means that the more people you tell the less it stings because you get de-sensitized to people’s reactions by how awful it is, whatever it is you have done.” Also if we can both laugh at me, then nobody is sobbing. It’s a lllllllll good. Why am I telling you this story that makes me seem like a drunken physco? What do you mean it’s weird because we haven’t spoken in two years. Fine. I’ll just go.”

4. Deny everything…vehemently
I confessed my undying love for you and then made out with someone else while maintaining eye contact?!? That never happened! I have no idea what you are talking about. I wasn’t even that drunk last night, now help me get my handbag out of this tree. Good day sir! (Years later under the same influence I may HINT at the knowledge of such events, but some things get locked up in the vault and even photographic evidence won’t make me admit to any participation.)

5. Go AWOL
Sometimes when things are reallllllllllly cringey, I’ll make a vow to never drink again and I’ll slip quietly off the radar (for about 5 seconds or until the next big social event I couldn’t possibly miss). You’ll know this is what I’m doing when you realize no one has aggressively tried to make out with you while also screaming Destiny’s child “SAY MY NAME” in your ear, or because you’ll stalk a picture of me on Facebook and see I’ve lost a few pounds from around my face (damn you beer bloat) and I’m posting more photos of food (yep I turn into that girl) and not blurred photos of me tonguing some kind of bottle and glazed over eyes. This is the worst possible option for me personally because much like a reoccurring pimple on your face, I’ll go away for awhile and then I’ll re-appear, worse than ever.

 

Much like Jesus, you can learn from me.

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

Oh, Philip.

I’m not one to jump on bandwagons usually (first of all, I don’t particularly like the idea of travel by wagon, and secondly, I don’t know how much room there would be for me back there, like how big is the band? Are we talking brass, rock, or one-man? A girls gotta know to prepare…what shoes would I wear, how many of my handbags could I bring!?) but I’ve been thinking about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

And though I am just another link/voice/non-authority when it comes to him and his recent death, I had a brief sliding doors type interaction with the man a week and a half before his demise. In my life, where I have been fortunate to be so removed from death and it’s consequences, the news that this highly regarded man passed away, after telling him where the bathrooms were at Sundance (glamorous me – what an interaction!) – well it was weird. I don’t think I have been as saddened by the death of a celebrity, someone I didn’t know, since Heath Ledger passed away.

My family has had it’s brush with drug addiction. That is no secret.

In fact – the reason this has all been churning inside of me is the following Facebook post from my mother:

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Philip Seymour Hoffman’s children are small, but the internet is easy to navigate. A ten year old today knows how to get online. It will take three clicks and his kids will know all the details of his death. There is a lot that is positive stuff out there about him (amazing actor, well respected), but his children will be exposed to the good, the bad & the ugly. The spotlight casts a lot of shadows, and it seems (from an outside perspective) that some of his shadows were very, very dark indeed.

I am sorry for them, those children left behind by their fathers death. Left behind by the demonic-grip that is addiction. I have seen it’s destructive force, and it is not pretty. It is terrifying to have a parent flip-flop from the person you love, trust and respect, to someone you don’t recognize – someone who’s behavior is so unpredictable, you live with the ice-flushing fear that you will say or do the wrong thing. The type of situation where you curl into a ball to make yourself as small as possible somewhere, and just wish and wish and wish, with a feverish desire that you can’t shake, that you could be someone, anyone else or somewhere, anywhere but there. You look at other people’s families (likely as fucked up as your own – but how do you know that) and ask yourself why you couldn’t have been born into the family across the street.

Is that sad to read?

When drug addiction affected our family, I was older than Philip’s kids are now. The drug was not as “hard” and at first, it was not a “problem”. I was a teenager, and I had the “cool mum” who was out partying, who would catch the later ferry home than us on a Friday night. I wouldn’t say that I was oblivious, but there is a lot you don’t know. It doesn’t start at the extreme with a needle hanging out of your inner elbow. Drug addiction creeps in, under the door, through the cracks, until there is such a mass in the room with you that you can choose to avert your eyes, but you all know it is there. Right in front of your face.

We are a fortunate family. I have two living, loving, parents who support me and tell me I’m great (thanks guys) and two younger brothers I couldn’t live without (seriously guys, Imma need those organs at some point….) but it could have all been a very different story, very easily.

I don’t know PSH’s situation. I don’t know why he was drawn to shooting shit into himself to alter his reality – I only know what I know from our experience as a family. Not everybody has a support network that is good and wants what is best for you, not everybody has had a life devoid of tragedy or fucked up fuckery that makes retreating the easiest option. There is no way I can possibly judge Philip, I did not know him.

But what I can say is, no matter how well his wife shielded their children from the addiction, they knew Daddy wasn’t totally fine.

Even the five year old.

And now that their father is gone, they will struggle with the choices he made – to leave them – to harm himself with things that were so clearly awful for him – and they will ask themselves:

didn’t he love us?

Because that is what we do, the children of this disease. We internalize.

It is impossible at first to separate your parents actions from how they reflect on you. Was I impossible to deal with without the drugs? Wasn’t I good enough? Could I have done something better/differently/wrong? Maybe if I had been XYZ he would have stopped. Maybe if I had said XYZ he would have listened. How could he be so selfish? Why didn’t somebody help him?

The truth is, he needed to help himself. He probably thought he could quit any time he wanted, but he didn’t. Not before it killed him. Maybe he didn’t want to quit – maybe it didn’t seem like it was a problem – we all know what that sounds like.

We all make horrible decisions sometimes, we are all flawed – even the people who give birth to other people (like our parents). PSH made a terrible decision and the results are devastating.

I hope that his kids realize that this is not their fault -it takes a long time to accept that, and that their father had demons that did not relate to them.

I also hope that Philips death, such a high profile waste of talent, serves as a wake up call to others.

His is not the first shocking-drug related death, and it wont be the last.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/drug_substance_abuse_addiction_signs_effects_treatment.htm

Paris

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!

Oh Gladys (This Blog brought to you by the letters T.M.I)

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So it’s winter time, and many of the women folk I know are letting certain things grow naturally (because it’s cold and goddamnit we’re lazy by nature). And that is great if you have a sig-nig-other, props to you ladies, do your thang. But being single, well that’s  a whole-nother risk. There are impromptu naked-fests with people who have never seen you thusly (or who’ve seen you thusly, who you’re trying to convince want to continue to see you…in the nudie) – and it’s already winter, your skin is pasty as shit, you’re older so its all beginning to sag, and you’ve probably put on a few. So best to keep certain areas as well-tended as possible.

So with that in mind, and the fact that it’s cheap Tuesday over at my torture chamber spa of preference, I headed off into the freezing rain (I walked there because well…its winter, and I’ve got to squeeze my excercise in between Ben & Jerry’s binges) and I got to thinking about some appropriate topics of conversation during the waxing (we’re talking about getting a brazillian for those slow to catch on).

See, before I left my house, my loving roommates joked that they bet I’m one of those awkward clients that try to make conversations.

And they are spot on.

I think its weird to have another woman’s hands all over your bits and not be like “so hey, how’s it going?”

Plus, I don’t know if you’ve tried this recently, but getting your pubes yanked out is ridiculously painful, so I like to make small talk to take my mind off it.

But nothing could have prepared me for Gladys.

Five foot zilch, mid to late forties, mother, Ecuadorian. She had eyebrows that would make your pencil-drawing-granny proud and a sassy post-divorce haircut that just oozes attitude.

All was going well, we’d talked about the weather (shitty) and how cold it is lately (it’s cold) and then the conversation took a turn for the bizarre (which is saying something for me)

Gladys: You know. I’m Latina, so all my clients think I’m Loco. That means crazy.

Me: (One hand holding butt cheek, one pulling stomach skin taught) Right.

Gladys: All the Spanish women – we’re crazy. But not as crazy as the men. You ever had a Spanish boyfriend?

Me: (Flinching as wax is applied, then ripped off with paper) I can’t say that I have.

Gladys: Aye me. I had this one boyfriend, Cuban. He was crazy. Like, sex 100 times a day. Animal. I told him: That’s not making love. I don’t want that. I was always tired. Couldn’t walk. Y’know?

Me: …

Gladys: How old are you?

Me: Twenty Five.

Gladys: Aye, so you could probably handle it. But me? At my age? I can’t even. Can you lie on your stomach now darling?

Annnnnnd Scene.

I don’t know, if you’ve ever had, a forty something year old woman talk about her sex life while waxing your … But I can tell you right now, even in Paris world…well…this was certainly an interesting Tuesday.

 

Saying Goodbye to “Home”

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When people ask me where I’m from, I can’t help it. I take a deep breath in, and I roll my eyes slightly.

Where am I from?

What a pointless question.

I think people ask it because I have a hard-to-place accent. I think people ask it, because they are trying to put you in a box in their mind. I think people are trying to categorize you. Do the places we are “from” define who we are? I suppose in some ways they do. Where you hail from is a cultural touchstone, a window into the type of person you might be.

Canadians and Americans are similar but different. If you are from Toronto, you are different from someone who is from Montreal or Vancouver. If you are an Australian, people generally assume you are friendly and outgoing. If you are Irish, you like the drink and you can get a bit crazy. Am I stereotyping? Stop me if you disagree. Are people asking you where you are from to hint at who you are? What your roots or heritage might reveal?

There are endless ways we divide ourselves, label ourselves, identify ourselves. In Toronto, I’ve heard people tell they are “from” a specific suburb. Like the area within the city, within the provence, within the country, might help signify more about them.

So where am I from?

I tell people, short answer form, that I am from Australia. I have the (slight) accent, I have the passport, I have the birth certificate. When people ask me where in Australia I am from, I tell them Sydney, because it is the place in Australia I lived most recently (for University) and spent the most years.

In reality, I was born in Perth, on the West Coast, where my father now lives, and where my cousins, Aunts, Uncles and Grandmother have always lived. I think I have spent a total of 6 months in that part of the world in over 25 years.

My mother is a New Zealand citizen. Am I from New Zealand? No. I have never been there and she left when she was 7.

Where am I from?

I spent the greater part of my life in Asia. If I told you I was from Hong Kong, you would laugh in my face (it has happened, people have done a double take and then asked me seriously… “Are you Chinese?”). I am a blonde haired, green eyed, Caucasian woman. My brother is a 6″1 hairy, caucasian giant. He was born in Hong Kong. Where is he from?

My other brother 6″3 currently blonde (or pink) haired (I think) was born in Kuala Lumper. Is he from Malaysia?

I remember a childhood of sweaty hot, monsoony nights. Street food and night markets, grinning faces that looked very different from mine, and conversations all around me in languages that I couldn’t understand.

My Mother has packed up her apartment in Hong Kong, and plans to move to Thailand this month. I am excited for her, for her new adventure. After a decade and a half in the hustling, bustling Fragrant Harbour, I know she is going to enjoy the peace and tranquility of Thailand. I know that she is chasing her dreams, and entering the next chapter of her life. With three fully grown children and another forty years in her, she has definitely got the right idea, jumping into the next adventure.

But a part of me mourns.

For someone who is a self-proclaimed Expat Brat, who moved to Canada without a backwards glance, Hong Kong was in many ways my “Home.” As culturally confused as my family and friends are, Hong Kong is a backdrop where we can all fit in.

Sorry to sound like I’m excluding, but you wouldn’t get it unless you’d grown up there, or lived in another major Expat City, (Kuala Lumper, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Seoul…)

And Hong Kong will always be there. My Mothers departure does not mark the end of the existence of that city. It is simply the last, torn out root of that chapter of my life. I can always still go there, I will always have friends there. I just won’t go “Home” to Hong Kong when I visit my parents.

My parents will be in their chosen cities, and I will be in mine.

Hong Kong is our central location, geographically a middle ground, or halfway house, for my family which is spread out across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. And while Thailand is close by, it does not hold any of the memories for my family. It will not feel like “Home” for me. Perhaps it will for my brothers who spent a year at Boarding School there. I don’t know. Even between the siblings, with only five years between the youngest and oldest, there is a vast ocean of experiences and childhood memories.

Where am I from?

Home is a word. It embodies a feeling. It cannot be one place because if you asked someone in Cairo where home was, and asked someone in Chicago the same question, both people would point to different spots on the map. It is not a charted destination. It is not physical. Maybe that is why I have always found the concept so confusing. Maybe that is why I think about it more deeply than those who ask:

Where are you from?

 

 

Things that I am actually really thankful for that might not seem obvious all the time

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Well…it’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada (America is doing its own thing in november I think) and because I like to embrace things I feel I missed out on as an Australian child in Asia, I’ve decided to embrace this tradition whole heartedly.

I think it’s fantastic to have a national holiday related to the giving of thanks and I’m cool with the idea of stuffing your face, whatever the reason (even though our Thanksgiving this year is going to feature more Veggie friendly options due to my roommates non-meat-eating-ways… “no no you’re right, this tofurkey IS delicious” *cries*)

There are just so many things to be thankful for in life, and the obvious ones like my parents, my friends, blah blah, those are boring. Here is a list of things I am actually really thankful for that might not seem obvious all the time to you, but that we should take a moment to be thankful for once in a while.

Thanks Mr Garbage Man

Thanks Mr Garbage Man

I am really thankful that other people work shitty jobs, so that I don’t have to:
I used to work in retail, and it sucked, hard. But one thing I learnt from that (shitty) experience, was that I needed to be mindful of people doing kindof crappy jobs so that I don’t have to, and to make sure I give them my thanks. Like people who work in Cafe’s doling out life-giving coffee at 7.45am. Do you know what time those people had to get up so that they could be open and ready for you as you start your morning commute? Like, 3am. That’s fucking early man. Or garbage dudes who take my smelly refuse away from the place that I sleep and eat most days. Ew.

What did they do in the good-ol days before government controlled waste disposal? I don’t know, and I don’t care to briefly google it to find out. So thankyou Garbo’s, and people who work in human waste-getting-rid-of-…ness. I am glad I don’t have to deal with my own shit figuritively and literally. And people who work on farms/turning animals into the food I eat. I don’t want to kill things and feel bad… so… thanks to you guys also for making my life less shitty. And such.

I am really thankful that I do not have an STD:
Last year a rumour was spread amongst a group of people I knew that I had herpes, which infuriated me at the time (obviously) but now just makes for a great story and something to laugh about with my friends (because I actually sortof accidently kindof  started a rumour the year before that a friend of mine had an STD…Karma is a swift and unforgiving biiiitch). But really, I don’t spend enough time being thankful about the fact that there are no viruses in and around my Vajajay. I definitely do not have the money to be spending precious drinking dollars on fancy anti-herp or wart creams, and, lets be honest, I don’t have the commitment to apply that shit on the reg, so. Yeah. I’m thankful that my parents always stressed that CONDOMS were whats-up with getting-down. Thanks Mum and Dad, you guys are the greatest.

I am really thankful for Sand:
It’s tiny smashed up rocks and shells. Isn’t that amazing!? Yes you guys, yes it is.

I am really thankful that I am a blonde, white woman with big boobs:
I know, I know. You’re sick of me mentioning my breasts at every available opportunity (sooooorrrrry, they’re literally in front of my face all day every day) and now you’re kindof worried that I’m about to say something semi-racist. But no. Ish. I’m just saying that I’m grateful to be me, because if I was me, but a dude, I might get punched in the face a lot more than I do.

I pull a lot of shit and get away with it because I can play the ditsy-blonde-girl card, the foreigner card (like the time the cop wanted to charge me for jaywalking… hellooooo we don’t have roads in Australia…how was I supposed to know), and the outraged-indignant-feminist card (are you saying that because I am a WOMAN?!)

So thank you Genes, and circumstance and evoltion, for allowing me to be a bitch and still get free drinks on a semi-freuquent occassion.

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I am really thankful that Sharks do not have legs:
I fucking hate Sharks. Have you ever seen ‘Deep Blue Sea’? That is the scariest fucking movie of all time (apart from ‘The Candyman’ which I watched at an innapropriately young age, about a man with hooks for hands that can come at you through a mirror if you say “candyman” three times in a row) about Sharks that get smart and sink a Shark Research centre in the middle of the ocean and try to kill all of the people working there. Why Sharks, WHY?!

Sharks are dicks.

So I guess I don’t spend enough time being thankful that Sharks are safely in the ocean, and I am safely on the land. Really, in my day to day urban life, I have no natural predators (except for rapists and gun-men) and for that I am truly thankful. And I’m glad to live in Canada now because all the things that were very real dangers in Australia (deadly spiders, snakes and sharks) would all freeze to death over here in the winter. Yay -20 degrees. Kill all the things.

I am really thankful that when we cry, we cry tears, and not glass shards:
The human body is an amazing thing that makes me go “wow” on a regular basis. Like, WOW you grew a human person from your orgasim and a tiny egg-thing we can’t even see. And your partner carried it inside them somewhere between their guts and where they pee? Humans right!? Astonishing.

So it’s good that our humanly functions (apart from childbirth) aren’t too painful. Like crying. Tears are soft water droplets that you can’t even really feel, but imagine if they were tiny sharp shards of glass so that when you cried, you probably would cry more because of the pain. And then your cheeks would just be all scraped and torn up.

Children would be a lot quieter, there would be less sad movies, and people in general would mostly be hardasses. So thankyou evolution for making me not bleed from my eyes when I’m having a bad day/meltdown/PMS.

I am really glad that weekends exist:
Imagine if we lived in a world where there were no such things as days off or weekends. It would be like Brave New World or 1984.

Bill: Hey Gary, what you up to today.
Gary: Work. And you?
Bill: Same! And then the next 7 years of our lives?
Gary&Bill: Woooorrrkk!

If weekends didn’t exist, I would have no good stories to tell at parties because I wouldn’t have the opportunity to shame myself and regret my poor life choices. No good story ever started with “and then on a worknight this one time…”

There are so many other things to be thankful for, like how Kim Jong Il is not your dad, George Lucas isn’t directing the next Star Wars, and Sloths are a creature that really are real in real life (for a long time I thought they were an internet hoax – seriously…)

I hope you’ll take a minute to appreciate the things that you might not normally be thankful for, but that you probably should.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

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And I did nothing…

This blog post does not have a humorous tone, so if you came here to read tales of my 24 year old (man I am clinging to that, even though i’ll be 25 in 26 days) shenanigans then I am sorry to disappoint you.

Because sometimes things that aren’t hilarious happen, and no matter how much you try to fill your life up with sunshine, and see the bright side of a situation, there are still sad things in the world.

And such was Friday evening.

I was on my way to film my first ever live report. I was nervous (understandably) but pretty confident (I’ve done quite a bit of On-Air pre-recorded stuff recently).

The shoot was miles away, and because I work as a Temp at the moment, I was going straight from the office job (that pays my bills) to the Shoot (which fulfills my dreams). I had the timing perfect, with a little buffer even. I had to take the street car waaaaaaay far west from the Downtown core of Toronto – an area I am not at all familair with. I had my iPhone maps open and was watching that blue dot move towards the red drop pin with quiet intensity.

We were pretty close, and I was right on schedule, when someone on the streetcar slumped over and passed out.

I didn’t notice at first (I was staring at my phone, and doing that annoying thing Ron Burgundy does meeeemeeemee *stretching face* – not really but sortof).

We were at a stop, and someone raced up to the driver of the streetcar and said, someone is in trouble. I turned around and a metre behind me was a women slumped face first on the ground.

“She’s passed out” “she’s breathing” “she’s not responding”.

The streetcar driver moved forward, looked at her, shook her, shook his head and went to call dispatch. Everyone remained where they were.

Including me.

One woman reached down and kept trying to wake her (it should be noted that a pungent alcohol smell was coming off her) but everyone else pretty much did nothing.

Including me.

Some people shuffled off the Streetcar in frustration (it’s a one track deal, so it’s not like any other streetcars were getting past us) and people started to harumph and mutter and show signs of irritation.

Including me.

Finally an ambulance arrived and paramedics came onto the streetcar, administered oxygen and managed to get the (obviously drug fucked) person to move. One of the Paramedics looked around and said “no one got off the streetcar?!”

No. No one did. In fact several people had moved forward to watch. my seat was close to where the woman was collapsed, and I just sat there and watched too.

They took the women away and put her on a stretcher and I arrived at my destination at 6.30, not 6pm, like I had planned, for my broadcast at 7 (a piano-a-thon, breaking news story).

Because I was nervous and focused on myself, it wasn’t until later that night – back on the streetcar and headed home after a long day, that my inaction started to bother me.

Yes, She was drunk, and high. Yes, the fact that she passed out was a result of her own actions. Yes, this kind of thing happens frequently on the delay-plagued Toronto Transit Commission.

But she was still a person in distress, and although my First Aide training is not so current, I do have it. I am naturally a leader and someone who remains calm in a crisis. And I reacted to this person, who is somebodies friend, daughter, sister, with detachment and frustration.

How dare she impede my day.

I had to have a really hard think about that one. Because I am better than that. And maybe I couldn’t have helped, but I damn sure could have had some compassion.

What if that was my friend? Or my Brother?

What if that were me?

Life isn’t always easy, and people make stupid decisions but they are still people.

How different would my reaction have been if someone had passed out having an epileptic fit? Or a heart attack?

I don’t want to be so jaded that I don’t even react in a situation like that.

Something to think about.