5 things I thought would be different when I left home

37942414

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.

skeptical-baby

  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.

    Screenshot_2016-06-13-09-50-18-1

  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.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…or maims you horrifically for life

o66wj

I like that saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”(WDKYMYS). It sounds good, it’s inspirational. It makes you think “Heck, things were tough/awful/soul destroying – but I’m still here!!”

People have appropriated that saying into songs (looking at you Kelly Clarkson), put it on T-shirts, tattooed it on their bodies, put it over pictures of sunsets and posted it on each others walls when their friends have been dumped by jerk’s named Derrick (fuck you Derrick you meanie!)

e4e8540f47953d59a76b773dee5ca3da

I like the expression, but I don’t know if I always agree with it.

Because sometimes things kill you a little bit inside and they make you feel weaker, they throw off your game.

Was Leo’s character stronger at the end of the Revenant after he got fucked up by a bear, watched his son get murdered, was left for dead and then had to crawl through the snow and shit of 1800’s Canada to Murder my future ex-husband/baby-daddy Tom Hardy’s character? (Oh yeah, spoiler alert… but seriously if you haven’t seen that movie yet get your shit together – it was nominated for and lost best picture like 5 months ago).

I mean…I guess he was stronger – like how calluses get stronger on the tops of your feet. But he was also weaker because he had lost his humanity, and he was a murderer murderer and he was gross (like a callus – see how I tied all that together? Yay Creative Writing Masters degree)

I wonder if people use WDKYMYS as a way to excuse awful situations they don’t know how to extricate themselves from?

I’d consider myself a strong person who has faced some challenges. Would I exchange them for an easy life where some of the shitty things didn’t happen to me? Yes of course! I’m not insane. Faced with two choices: an easy road and a hard, bush-basher of a path, I think most of us would choose the easy option.

But life doesn’t work like that, and there are plenty of things that will try to throw you off the plans you’ve made, a death in the family, a financial set-back, a painful divorce, an unexpected illness.

So I propose a re-word. “What doesn’t kill you makes you different” – because not all things make you stronger, and thats okay too.

You are not a failure if you come out of a near-death-esque experience and think: “well that fucking sucked” and you’re not stronger.

End of Thought.

 

Encounters with morons

download

There are  few people who’s advice I truly value. My parents (because they have known me since before I was just a tiny puke-inducing parasite in my mothers stomach and they honestly want what’s best for me), a handful of friends who I go to for more day to day advice (why hasn’t he teeeeeexxxxxttttttedddd meeeeeee?!) and those I perceive to have career trajectory’s I admire – the men and women older who are more successful than me in the industry I love.

And outside of that, I really don’t give a fuck.

Now that may sound harsh, but lets be honest, it has been pointed out to me on more than one occasion in the recent past that I have a bitchy streak (something I never actually recognized in myself until I took a few steps back). I am blunt, and I am opinionated and I am (starting to be) okay with that (or at least trying to tone it down enough to not make that part of my identifier… “oh you know Paris! The Big Boobed, Blonde, Angry Australian one?”.

I have lived an interesting life (Yay Passports!)

Yes, random new Canadian stranger I have just met, it IS kind of funny that my name is Paris and that I am from Sydney. Let us jovially exchange pleasantries as you make a joke about my name that I have heard MANY times before. I will do you the courtesy of smiling – because I don’t go from 0 – 100 anger quiet as quickly as a psychopathy might. Which is lucky for you because otherwise *PUNCHYPUNCHY* straight to the faceyfacey. I’ll wait for you to make the classic:

Why did you come to Canada?“Why would you leave Sydney for this?!” *Chortle Chortle* remark.
I came to work at a Children’s summer camp, loved it, worked for the camp office, went back to camp and then decided to stay and break into film and television which is what I was doing when I left Australia. I left Australia because I was over it, and I have the passport so I can go back whenever. Travel while you’re young, be adventurous, move away from the ordinary.

Good to know that you think I am crazy to have moved to Canada over Australia and that you think the Film & Television industries are very hard to break into. That is a top-notch tid bit. Let me jot that down in my dream journal for further evaluation.

You know zero things about my life, or how I was raised, or what my true ambitions are. If the conversation goes further (which pray god it doesn’t – but people are nosy curious) you might discover that I spent the majority of my childhood living in Asia, that my brothers were born in Hong Kong and Malaysia, and that my Mother now lives in Thailand and that actually over the last year, that tough to crack industry has paid all of my bills and kept me alive on the planet.

Shall I tell you my blood type and bra size?

People have opinions, I get it (see first paragraph, I am infected by opinion-itis) and generally, we believe what we think is the right thing – otherwise we would not think that thing.

But people live differently and if you think it’s weird that I move around a lot, tell me in the same breath that I’m crazy for leaving Australia, but also crazier for wanting to leave Toronto, then get the hell off my lawn. I think its crazy that anyone would want to live in the same place for an extended period of time. There is so much to see, so much to learn. 3 years later in Toronto and I’m still seeing new bits every day – still learning and exploring.

And as for my career choice, that’s freaking FANTASTIC that you gave up on your dreams to live “in the real world” and get a “real job”. I would blow my brains out if I felt I had to do something I didn’t love because it was the mature and right thing to do. Maybe I am neither mature or responsible, but my credit rating says I am, so go fuck yourself.

You think it’s insane I would want to move to LA, New York or London to pursue those ambitions? It’s too expensive/hard/competitive? That may be. I might try and I might fail, but at least I learned and went for it. Thank you for giving up before you even attempted it, the bodies of the apathetic were the easiest to climb over as I made my way to the top.

I don’t know why this enraged me so much today – maybe it’s the repetitiveness of these types of conversations – but holy fuck the relief of talking to other expatriates/third culture kids.

I’ve often written about feeling disembodied from a sense of “home” and a belonging to a specific group of people. But the older I get the more this becomes apparent – my home is a floating web of hummingbirds (be they the internationals, or the creatives), who rest gently in a place, gather experience and then shoot off again. Those are my people – the people who can’t sit still. You think we’re weird? But we think you’re fucking weirder.

No matter how long I live in a place I will never truly belong there because my collective experiences will always mark me as foreign. Perhaps there are pockets, in expatriate communities in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore… but there again the expatriate communities cling like barnacles to the hull of a country.

It’s cool, my anger at your moronic assertion of your opinions evaporates. We walk away and you become another faceless idiot.

I write a blog about you and the world turns. I send up a silent thank you to the universe (and the people who shaped my life and world) that I am educated, wealthy, safe and supported, and we all go about our days.

The end.

Paris

 

Oh Chicago, the things I would do to you…AKA how to win at being an Aussie in the US of A

Yay I’m officially 25 and older than I’ve ever been. Highfive parents! I survived my early twenties. Now we just need to get me married off  to some crazy-person brave/stupid enough and sprogged up and you guys can breathe a sigh of relief. Hey, one of your kids has to continue the genetic line, and with two gay sons, I’m your best bet! Sucks to be you!

So anyway, people always ask you what you did for your birthday, and this year, what with the landmark-ness of it and all, I wanted to be able to give a better answer than “I got drunk with my friends” (that did happen too… but it was not the defining achievement!)

So I went to Chicago with my friend Rosie. And got drunk there. But we also did other stuff too.

And oh my.

Chicago is quite a city.

Not only is it stunning to look at, it is full of the hottest men I have ever seen in my life, and the nicest people on the planet. The food is genetically engineered to be the best thing that has ever been in and around your mouth, and every street you stumble down lost (always) you will find something cool, unique and wonderful that you just want to cuddle a bit too tight, like a really squishy-faced kitten.

To say I love that city would be an understatement.

I’d like to take Chicago home to meet my parents. I’d like to write Chicago cheesy love songs that I’d totally sing and upload to Youtube and I wouldn’t even be embarrassed about it.

The 5 best things about Chicago:
5. The Stunning Waterfront (are you listening Toronto, with your under-utilized harbour front)
4. The Jazz/Bar Scene – so many options! So many cool/different/quirky spots.
3. The Architecture Boat ride and the pride in the buildings there
2. The People who are so freaking cool (and attractive)
1. The Deep Dish Pizza

I think I probably consumed over 100,000 calories while in Chi town. I stopped saying no to things that were delicious and started saying yes.

This is a "small" size Chicago deep dish

This is a “small” size Chicago deep dish

Deep Dish Chicago Pizza is the best thing that was ever invented and I don’t understand why it can’t exist outside of Chicago. Because I would eat it every day, and that is no lie. While in Chicago we also ate Blue Cheese and Tandoori chicken pizza, Macoroni and Cheese Pizza, and Smores Pizza (chocolate sauce, teddy grahams, marshmellows.) We ate every weird thing we could find and we loved it. We even went to American McDonalds and tried Sweet Potato Pies (no boring apple pie thankyouverymuch).

Blue Cheese/Tandoori Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Smores Pizza slices

Blue Cheese/Tandoori Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Smores Pizza slices

Now I can fully understand why there are so many obese people in America. Absolutley no doubt about it, if I lived in America, I would be obese. 100% There are too many delicious things there.

In fact I might have come back more obese if we didn’t get so lost all the time and just walk around (we could have easily not been lost, so many people offered us directions/help/to be our tour guides – we were just happy to explore).

It definitely helped that I was with my stunning fellow Blonde Aussie gal (an accent will get you EVERYWHERE in the United States) but seriously the people are so nice there. And everybody wants to chat because they love their city and they LOVE that you love their city.

We got a hug off our Cheesecake Factory Server. The guy I sat next to on the plane ended up taking us for a few drinks and told us to call him if we ran into any trouble over the weekend.

Nicest. People. Ever.

So if you want to stuff your face, be inspired, walk around a place that looks like a post card and hurt your neck from staring at all the attractive babes (seriously… what are they feeding you guys?!) then get to the Mid-west, because Chi-town has it all.

We love you Toronto, but we’re OBSESSED with you Chicago!!

photo-23

I want to be thin, but I really want to eat all this cheese.

afVdEy0

Ah the first world problems I face as a wealthyish (hahaha) educated (excuse me while I cry into my MFA in Creative Writing) white (yep) woman (yepyepyep).

I am bombarded by all these bodies on television and in Print media, where the girls are always tanned, taught and aerodynamic (how do they make their boobs not point down??!… wahhhh!) and I’m informed that this particular size and proportion is beautiful and another size and proportion is not.

And then every second thing I see around me is an advertisement for something delicious, like a triple quarter pounder with extra fat injected into the burger buns for added deliciousness.

What’s a girl supposed to do/think?

Deny herself all the scrumptious things out there? Yeah. Right.

Go to the gym and work out like a Durecell bunny on crack? HAhaHA. No but really…don’t make me go to the gym.

It’s tough and it’s not new and it’s not like this is a revolutionary conversation I’m having with myself over here.

There is plenty of evidence to support the fact that these photoshopped “women” are cultivating bad body image in young ladies and giving young men an unrealistic expectation level of what a female body can look like (sorrrrrrry my thighs aren’t skinnier than my arms and my bum doesn’t look like a peach, but more like a blob of hardened oven grease…jeez).

So how to combat this? There are plenty of theories out there. Education on healthy eating and promoting nutrition (I’m looking at you United states of Corn Syrup).

And for young women especially, how can we work to change this subculture of fat vs thin. The number of eating disorders amongst young people is staggering and saddening (1 in 10 young women in the United States). What can we do? Promote more average body sizes in modelling and advertising, is one thing that has always played around on the periphery. More education? Support? All of that is useless when a bully is tormenting you, or someone or something makes you hate yourself and truly find yourself disgusting.

When I was last back in Hong Kong I found a journal I had kept right after a breakup with long term boyfriend numero uno. And do you know what I found? Pages and pages and pages of lists of what I ate that day v.s the exercise I did.

“6 x stair runs up ladder street. 1 Can tuna, one apple, 2 weetbix, 1 rice noodles in soup”
Good god it’s like I was living at a bland ashram when in fact I was living in a city with some of the tastiest cuisine in the world. And Ladder street?! It’s called ladder street because the steps are almost vertical (i’m making that up…there could fully be a different reason I am unaware of).

Why did I keep an obsessive journal like this, rather than tear stained pages working through my complex emotions of angst and heartbreak and having to find a new boyfriend with a car who can drive me around because I never learned?

Because that dude made me feel unattractive and I thought no one would ever love me again if I didn’t look a certain way.

Which is ridiculous because you should love someone for more than whether their jeans say size 6 or a size 16. And also I’m hilarious, so I’m okay.

But even if you don’t have that going for you, you still shouldn’t let a guy make you feel like you aren’t nice to look at. And if one does, then go tell your Mum or Dad or tell someone like me, and we’ll go kick his ass. Fucker.

And women of the world should never let some loser make them feel unattractive because have you seen a nut sack lately? I have, and man, those things are revolting.

There is nothing on my body (cellulite included) that is as gross as where the male body stores it’s reproductive sphere’s.

So yes I will be eating the rest of the Brie wheel today that I started at breakfast. Thankyouverymuch.

End Rant.

 

 

 

 

Should I eat this expired Pork?

piggies

Things you don’t know that only Google/Your parent can answer.

Should I eat this Expired Pork?
It’s best before date is 3 days ago, but it seems okay and it’s been in the fridge…?
Google says: NO!
Dad says: Yes. Just cook it well and it will be fine. Best before dates are for the retailer to sell it.
Verdict: Well I cooked it and will be having it for dinner. Usually I have an iron stomach… I guess we’ll soon see!

Should I book these tickets to Chicago for my birthday next month for a fun filled weekend of USA shenanigans?
Google says: Air Canada flights… your pet can accompany you on board… What the fuck google?! That doesn’t help me!
Parents say: Isn’t there something else you should be using that $300 for?
Verdict: Flights booked to Chicago! YAY!

Why does my stomach hurt after the equivalent of 3 wheels of Brie because there was a free cheese platter and I can’t help myself?
Google says: Here are 18 reasons your stomach might be hurting, including gall stones, Pancreatitis, Lactose intolerance (jesus christ, lets start with Gall stones and Pancreatic diseases before we suggest lactose intolerance… thanks for freaking me out google!)
Parents say: Don’t eat so much Brie Paris!
Verdict: I’m probably dying. Make sure they play ‘Party in the USA’ when I go.

What am I doing with my life?
Google says: Actually there are quite a lot of blogs and articles on this topic as other twenty something year-olds wonder where to go, what to do, how to chase their passions. Glad to know that I am not totally hopeless/alone and there are others like me out there (maybe even DOZENS of us) But no definitive tailored answer. Shit.
Dad says: Keep writing, you’re a super star, you’re amazing, you’ll get there!!
Mum says: Stop panic-ing, just live, here are some quotes, we love you.
Verdict: Curl up into a ball until this round of freaking out goes away. Thankyooooou emotional roller coaster.

Do I have a pension plan already, because I feel like my money is being sneaked out into one through tax and such and while I’d rather have that money now, I guess I should kind of know, right?
Google says: 

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension provides a monthly benefit to eligible Canadians.

You must have worked and made at least one valid contribution (payment) to the CPP to qualify for a CPP retirement pension. The standard age to begin receiving the pension is 65. However, you can take a permanently reduced CPP retirement pension as early as age 60 or take a permanently increased pension after age 65.

Dad says: Well you see… (and then I tuned out – although I love you Papa).
Verdict: Long hair, don’t care! I’ll worry about boring things like that when i’m boring, like when I turn 35.

If I keep eating the amount of sugar I do daily, will I get Diabetes?
Google says:

Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.

Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.

Parents say: We have Diabetes in our family. You should be careful, eat healthy and regularly excercise.
Verdict: Change nothing, worry every once in a while.

Thanks Google & Parents. With your combined knowledge – I am more equipped to face every day.

 

My Accent is not as strong as YOUR accent, AKA: Autistic vs Artistic and THAT awkward misunderstanding

I’ve lived in Canada for over two years now, and sometimes I feel like I’m speaking Cantonese when interacting with the North Americans (I can, for the record speak some Cantonese, but it’s mostly Dim Sum and swear words…so you can tell I’m popular at parties).

My Australian accent is nowhere near as strong as it could be because of a combination of the fact that I have really not lived that many years of my life in the Land Down-Under and it has burnt off, because I mainly had British and American teachers in those formative first few years of school, and because of accent Osmosis, where you absorb part of the accents around you.

I frequently get accused of being British.

3q78q6

And yet despite speaking ENGLISH, I am constantly misunderstood, laughed at by friends and have had people stare at me bewildered by simple requests because, turns out, we share many of the same words, and yet some of our lexicon is COMPLETELY different.

Here are some amusing examples I have compiled for you:

The Letter “R”
Not brought to you by Sesame Street today, but by me. As an Australian I pronounce this letter of the alphabet much softer than the Canadians. I say “Ahgh” almost, where as the Canadians pronounce this letter “Arghh” like a pirate.

to_arr_is_pirate_funny_84_curtains

 

The difference in pronunciation is what creates most of the misunderstanding between myself and simple Canadian folk.

My Name
My parents have kind of boring names, and they endeavored to make sure we (my siblings and I) had cool, interesting, easy to remember names. I can’t speak for my brothers, but whenever I tell people that my name is Paris, most people make a face like, huh! cool! And no one has ever forgotten my name. Or if they have, they haven’t lived to tell the tale… so same thing!

pink ballons around eiffel tower

But I do find it amusing when Canadians pronounce my name back to me in my accent. Usually with a question mark. They say “oh your name is Pah-rass?…oh you mean Pearriss, like the city?”
No, like the Hilton. Dumbass.

Autistic vs Artistic
I’ll never forget the conversation I had with my boss at the TV station I volunteer at. I was describing a movie I had seen and told her “The movie was so artistic, I loved it.” She was shocked. Okay like you’ve never seen Finding Nemo. I get it. It wasn’t until she finally whispered “I’ve never heard anyone describe a movie as being autistic before” that I realized I would have to find another word. This has happened multiple times with various levels of shock/hilarity/awkwardness.

Toner
Another escapade from my first few weeks in Toronto. I had found a new hairdresser I liked and asked over the phone if they had Toner for after you get highlights (I am not a natural blonde… Q’uelle Suprise). After the hairdresser made me spell out the word (she thought I was asking for Tuna?) she laughed and said “Oh tonearrrghhh. Sure we have that.” Thank god they didn’t put Tuna in my hair after the highlights. That would have been bad…or maybe good? Fish oils anyone? BRB Tunahair

golden_fish_by_chrica-d5ao5r3

 

Google Translate
Hilarity has ensued multiple times (for Canadians) when I have used a word they are unfamiliar with. Funny thing is, I don’t just spout words totally out of context, so you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about, even if the word sounds funny to you. There is an improv game you can play where you have to speak in gibberish and act out a scene and GUESS WHAT?! People can figure out what the hell is going on when actors are making shit up worse than the Daily Mail.

Me: Where’s the bathroom?
You: The what?
Me: The washroom.
You: oh it’s over there!

Don’t. be. a dick. You knew exactly what I was asking. You just wanted me to feel bad. Well guesswhatIdon’t so HA!

Australian: Jumper > Canadian: Sweater.
Australian: Bin > Canadian: Garbage, or Trash (i forget, some of your words get mixed up with American words, and we’ve already established that i’m bi-lingual in Cantonese and English, so it’s a lot to remember).
Australian: Thongs > Canadian: Flip Flops (how many times has THIS been an awkward conversation?)
Australian: Soft Drink > Canadian: Pop or Soda
Australian: Sticky Tape > Canadian: Tape (derp…what does she mean sticky tape?)

There are just too many to list, but the list does go on.

Today I tried to buy stir sticks for the office I am working in this week. You know what those are right? The wooden sticks used to stir coffee and tea in the office. Well fine what would you call them?
Because the person I asked looked like I was completely. fucking. insane.
And I am, sure, but not today.
And what I don’t feel like doing at 10am on a Tuesday, is acting out what a stir stick is.

GAH!

Canada you have a population of around 3million people and according to wiki, in 2011 there were about 250,000 NEW immigrants! That’s about 8% of your population.

Everywhere I go I hear Irish accents, South African accents, Asian accents (all kinds) European accents… There is a huge Aussie and British population over here (duh… we run Whistler!)

So the next time you think about laughing about someones different accent, just remember…

Your accent sounds totally weird to me too.