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.

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.

So High School

Everything about this is hilarious to me

Everything about this is hilarious to me

Being back in Hong Kong is sometimes so weird.

In this fast paced city, so much can change. Leave for a year and BOOM they’ve just built all these new buildings and your favourite cheap outlet is gone and French Restaurants have moved in everywhere (this is no joke…where the hell did all the frogs come from?!)

BUT *screechbangwaitasecond* so much can stay the same. I went to an ANZAC memorial service on Thursday with my parents and the Australian International School (where I went for the last four years of High School) was well represented by kids in hideous Green and Gold blazers. And Lo, who should I spy, but my old Headmaster who is still kicking it (with more grey hair) here in Hongkers in the same job. I bumped into so many people who are still here doing their thing – same old same old, you know?

The great thing about Hong Kong people is, no matter how long you have been gone and no matter how much has changed, friendships and conversations pick up right where they left off. Having a happy hour cocktail with a girlfriend after 2 years, it’s like I saw her yesterday. Meet my friend after the gym for some fatty fat fat Starbucks time, didn’t we do this yesterday? Oh no wait that was 18 months ago.

But being back in this city also reminds me of the High School times I had and all the stupid High School stuff we did. Like…remember in High School when someone could do one thing, and they were out of your life forever?

It’s sad that I’ve realized over the past few years I’ve become much more judgemental and quick to get angry at people or cut them out of my life. I wasn’t always like this. Even my dad has picked up on it, and to him, I can do no wrong, right Papa?

In High School and at University I was the easy going friends-with-everyone type. Maybe i’m getting older and more jaded? Dunno. Whatever it is, over the last few years I’ve noticed a change in myself that I’m trying to rewind. I don’t try to have enemies…

But there was ONE time in High School where I did cut someone out of my life with the words “Have a Nice Life” and remained until the last few years, extremely angry, and considered this girl my enemy.

It’s not a particularly interesting story and it’s definitely High School, but basically, a rumour got started while we went away on our grad trip that next to all the drinking we were doing (our parents knew about this…they knew we sneaked out to bars with our fake ID’s) we were also smoking *SHOCK* pot. Now, the reason this rumour got started was because of me. I had always had a VERY open relationship with my parents about what was going on, and they’d seen it all before, and I made some flippant comment about stoners on a phone call to my Mother, which she then mentioned to a friend (a teacher at our High School) in an anecdote which then BLEW UP into a huge escalando! (Goodness me Beatrice, the children have begun smoking Marijuana!)

Just prior to this grad trip, I’d been having a HELL of a year. My parents were splitting, it was my final year of High School, my brothers and father had moved to the other side of the world, my mother was battling an addiction and depression. Not a fun cocktail. And this girl who I had been close with for four years, suddenly turned around and accused me of being a snitch and a this that and the other and told me I had to call her parents and tell them I had been lying to get attention.

Well.

Nope.

At 18, despite being a very emotional and extreme person (which I still am to some degree) I decided, heart racing, that because she and I were moving to different parts of Australia to pursue our University degrees, to not engage in this drama. And I simply told her to have a nice life, and actually, haven’t really spoken to her in 6.5 years since we graduated. I bumped into her a few times over this period, and after the first time when she tried to talk to me, and I (extremely drunk) turned my back on her and faced a wall, have had (obviously) thoughts about why I acted the way I did.

In what mind-frame do you just decide someone is out of your life forevermore in a moment? Life is long and relationships are hard and tricky and messy and interesting.

I’d like to think that each year I get older, I also get a little wiser (pfffffft) and so, this year, being back in this great city for two months, with the opportunity to reconnect again with my friends and family, I’d like to work on being a little more normal when it comes to people and relationships.

Ultimately as humans (like bee’s…i think) our society and our self is built on relationships and interactions (unless you’re that Hermit guy in Wales…but even he has to buy his milk from somewhere).

So I will strive to approach people with more tolerance, and remember that at the end of the day we’re all human and we all make mistakes.

 

24 things they don’t warn you about before you turn 24

24. You can’t handle your alcohol like you used to:
When I lived at College for 3 years, my liver was a hardened criminal, used to taking no shit from no bitches, and handling, on average, 7-8 drinks a night 6-7 times a week (sometimes we didn’t drink on Sundays…sometimes). Now my liver is a Pussy, and it has made the rest of my body soft and weak. Stupid age.

23. Some things that were cute when you were 18, are not cute now you are a hop skip and a jump away from being thirty:
Like losing all your stuff on a night out (oh darn, you lost your phone again? WOOPSIES! You fucking moron) or getting caught in the rain with no umbrella (YOU CHECKED THE WEATHER ON YOUR COMPUTER BEFORE YOU LEFT!) We’re too smart now to do dumb things like this. Or, we’re just too dumb and evolution needs to sort that out.

22. People are going to start settling down, and shit:
Check my blog from Monday where I detailed the stuff I don’t know about weddings. But weddings aside, people are getting engaged, their moving in with each other, they’re not going out as much any more because they’re saving for things. WTF mate.

21. Your health is more important:
But I WANNA eat that cheesecake at lunch and still get frozen yogurt after my dinner of pizza and mozzarella sticks. WHAT THE HELL IS A CLOGGED ARTERY AND WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT IT?! You’re also going to get fat as fuck with your metabolism peaking out on you.

20. People are going to ask you what you do…all the time:
When I was 18, people assumed I was at University. I didn’t know people that weren’t. I might have asked them what they were studying if I was trying to be polite or trying to make out with them, but I didn’t really care (it was just the pre-hitting on them move). Now people ask me all the time what I do. What shall I tell them? “I WAS working in retail (which I hated) and then I found out my visa had an error on it so now I’m just interning and mindlessly cruising the internet. Is this the part where I ask you and you can tell me even though I don’t really care?”

19. At first paying your own bills and doing your own laundry was exciting and fun. Now it isn’t.

18. There are people younger than you, more successful and more famous than you. And you should feel bad.

17. You won’t live forever:
This shocked me. I went to my first funeral this year and where I used to think 50 was sooooooo old, now I can’t help thinking my friends mum died SOOOOOO YOUNG. I’ll be fifty in 26 years. That’s not enough time to do all the things I need to do! Maybe i’m not invincible…

16. Every year – things seem to speed up and go a little faster:
I can’t believe I just had another birthday. Didn’t I just have one last month? See number 17.

15. All that talent you displayed in High School – when people told you how unique and creative you were…
Well there’s lots more competition now.

14. Your parents protected you from a lot of the crazy out there.
It’s going to rattle tins at you on the corners, it’s going to knock on your door and try to tell you about jesus. Someway, some how, each year the crazy is going to try and seep into your life and you are going to become more and more aware of a) how scary it is and b) how not difficult it would be to join those ranks.

13. Cliques and Bitchyness didn’t end in High School:
Best to have a “Fuck it” attitude and just be you. Cos Heyoooh, if you don’t like you, no one else is going to buy into your crap.

12. You should have done a degree with the title of a job in it:
Like Accounting or Law. Your wishy washy arts/liberal/science degree ain’t gonna get you no where easily. Having read all of Jane Austen’s novels is not something you can put on your resume.

11. You’re getting too old to accept some of these new music types:
Skrillex.

10. There are lots of lame things you need to do to survive:
Like taxes, keeping your eye on your bank account and getting health check ups.

9. People are going to judge you on what wine’s you drink:
“I drink to get drunk” is no longer an acceptable or funny answer.

8. Some of the best paying jobs sound boring as shiiiiiit:
Account manager for a paper company. Sales and Marketing Division leader at Do You Hate Your Life Yet LTD.

7. Your tastebuds are changing and things you used to hate you might start to like and things you used to love might make you go “Meh.”

6. You can’t believe everything you see on TV:
BUT BUT! Everything always has a happy ending!

5. You are going to lose touch with some of your best friends:
As everyone’s lives adapt at a different pace and people move all over the world. But don’t worry because there are always amazing new people to meet, and you never know what they are going to bring to your life.

4. You are going to make mistakes, and you are going to be okay:
I used to think I had to have all the answers all the time, but now in my period of waiting and watching and applying and sighing, I realize that I’m allowed to fall down and make mistakes and take this moment of question-mark-ness. Now I realize that if I fall, I just have to get back up, and if I fall again, I’m just going to have to get back up again. That’s the journey.

3. You only have to answer to you – when it comes to life decisions:
I used to think I had to keep up with the crowd, do cool things, impress my parents, reach a certain status. Now I’m starting to learn that I couldn’t be something I’m not, that that is where my life path is. See #17. When I die, I’, hoping that in the split second before I expire, when my life is all laid out in front of me like a patch work quilt, I tried my best as a person to be good and love those around me, but also that I tried my best to listen to my heart and do what was in it.

2. If you want something, you have to ask for it.
No body is just going to hand you your dreams and ambitions. It’s a hard, slippery, scary path, but you have to walk it because nobody else is going to walk it for you. Remember in school when if you wanted to join a sports team or do the play, your parents had to sign something, or they could call the teachers and complain if you didn’t get in? Now it’s you that has to make the fuss, ask for things, fight for yourself.

1. You are going to have SO much fun!

And those are my 24 things. Some are rude, harsh, cynical. Some are sappy and some were just me scrabbling. But there they are laid out for you.

Enjoy.

University words of Wisdom

My littlest brother is flying out of our home town of Hong Kong in a few short hours, to start his University journey.

I know my Mum is sad, and proud, at the same time. What an achievement, three kids through high school all by the tender age of 42.

Littlest brother is excited, and nervous, as we all were when we packed up our rooms to head to our new lives. Like I did when I hit 18, LB (Littlest Brother) is flying 9 hours and half way across the world by himself to start his higher education. Luckily we have a network in Sydney which will scoop him up and hopefully set him in the right direction.

I wish I could be there to help you in this exciting time, but sadly I am on the opposite side of the globe.

But what I can give him are some words of Wisdom from my own experience, and Canadian boyfriend is here too, and he wears glasses so he must be smart.

Eat the meals provided at College, but make sure you work out.
‘Fresher Spread’ ‘Fresher Fifteen’ ‘Freshman Fifteen’, these are universal. First year Uni students living away from home get fat, they eat crap and they drink loads of booze. Eat the free food, because you’ll be broke, but just make sure you exercise/eat a salad occasionally, because those Kilo’s are hard to shift. Trust me. You can eat cheap Thai near the Uni and get cheap deals on campus.

(Canuk Boyfs advice): Wear Condoms.
Self explanatory. As the only gay in the village, you won’t have to worry about getting girls knocked up (yay for you), but STD’s are for life man.

Have as much fun as you possibly can.
Say yes before you say no (not to drugs obviously), embrace every challenge and new opportunity. The University years are short and fleeting, but they are fun and amazing. You are not only there to learn things from books, but also to learn things about yourself and others, to learn discipline and independence. Make sure you have a good time.

(Canuk Boyfs advice): Time Manage.
Personally, I started my assignments the day they were due (I used to run to the drop box at 4.55pm because I knew they closed at 5pm and start them at 6am). But CB’s advice is work hard play hard. Get shit done and get shit faced. Or if you do it last-minute like me, then make it look good by throwing in loads of citations and fancy schmancy words.

Don’t get involved with someone you live with unless you’re prepared for the drama when/if it all gets fucked.
Loosely summarized by our mother as “Don’t shit where you eat.” At college you live with 250+ people. You see them every day, at every meal (unless you become a troll hiding in your room), so be careful. It can get nasty.

(CB advice): Talk to your parents often
Let them know how you’re doing, they are the reason you are there and they care about you. (awww! isn’t that sweet)

Get a part-time job – you’ll have the time.
Seriously, you’ll need the money for extra booze when there aren’t organized parties and to go to the local bars. Never underestimate the $5 goon sack. Also, as great as a degree is, having work experience on the resume is awesome too.

 

And that’s it from me, older sister done with Uni, as you start your journey. Remember all the good things – like be true to yourself and to study and shower occasionally, etc etc.

Love you lots little pants

 

P

A wider education

It’s hard to be creative sometimes when the days of office work whiz past and there are relationships and commitments and financial obligations to juggle. You have a blog space sitting right there, beckoning you to splurge and blheurghk all your ideas and musings right out into the open so everyone can see. And it’s hard, because each day that passes is marked UC, UnCreative.

And thus it has been over a week since I posted. I went from posting once a day, to three times a week, to when I can manage it. Rather like my Gym attendance (hello size 12 verging on 14).

But I have finally found the time, between work and social and all the other things that eat up my time to finally discuss something I’ve been thinking about:

A Wider Education.

My youngest brother is about to start at the University of Sydney (which is where I went to for four years), my other brother is mid-way through his degree, constantly looking for ways out – or other travel adventures to escape to.

Recently I’ve been reviewing the contracts of new international staff applying at our summer camp. Their resumes and cover letters are interesting, they all seem to be well-educated, thrill-seeking types who are after something a little bit different.

We have Uni students coming from England. We have full-time workers coming from Australia. I read their personal essay’s and look through their resumes and ask myself, what is it that attracts this group of people to this experience?

It is the same thing that drew me to Canada 8 months ago. The search for the unknown, the restless desire to be somewhere new, new experiences, new places, new people, actions which lead us to become more diversified and interesting, adding more colours to our shimmery identity, more skills to be learned. To add more strings to our bows.

There are plenty of people in this world stuck in a formulaic existence, to some extent, I would have classed myself in that group prior to ditching my life and staying in Toronto. I was good at school (for the most part), got good grades (except in Maths), did what I was told, got a good University entrance score, didn’t fail any units, finished my Bachelor of Arts and got my Masters.

Okay so I’m leaving out some minor details, like the fact I went to 3 different international schools in Asia, and that my family life completely imploded when I was in year 12, but the gist is the same. Each Uni holiday I would go “home” to one or the other of my parents homes (Hong Kong or Perth). I never went with my friends through their global trecks. Uni holiday time was family time as my family was thousands of Kilometres away.

It was only when I was doing my Masters degree that I realized I might have to put in a little bit more effort, that I wasn’t just going to walk from school to Uni, from Uni to the perfect job. So I started interning.

Interning is an amazing way to get a foot in the door in places, you do a lot of bitch work but you also learn a lot. I consider my 5 months of free work for Freehand productions as an invaluable part of my education. It was wider education.

Travel is part of my wider education. Living in Toronto, learning about North Americans from the inside out is part of my wider education. Learning how to move places on a whim, is part of my education, that I’m sure will serve me down the road. Even working my kind of boring office job is teaching me something, a core unit of study in the University of life (perhaps, how to sit the f*ck down, shut the f*ck up and get on with it.)

I try to never overlook the value of things I do in my life – even if they seem irrelevant or annoying, or wastes of time. Recently I did a VERY amateur dramatic production of a Panto – Goldilox and the Bears. I bitched and moaned, PRETTY much through the whole production. I constantly whined about doing rehearsals three times a week, but I now realize it got me through the heart of winter. It gave me a purpose and a place to be. It made me feel like I was part of a community again, and has actually given me an idea about putting on a show of my own.

You can’t underestimate the power of a wider education.

It’s the different experiences of each of us that make us more interesting and diverse human beings. I’m glad that I’ve taken risks and made mistakes, and had moments of absolute-what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life-ery.

I hope that if you are reading this blog, you challenge yourself to gain a wider education.

4 Reasons I miss University life

As I have mentioned in a previous post, this is the first year of my life I haven’t had an educational institute to attend. It’s kind of scary, exciting, liberating and sad at the same time. This weekend I’m up in the Uni town London, Ontario, visiting friends from camp.

Reasons I miss Uni Life:

1. Student discounts
Movies, bus passes, books, Apple products.
How about a discount for people straight out of Uni who have no idea what they are doing with their lives?

2. Delicious cheap food.
Campuses always have the most scrumptious, affordable, hugest meal deals. When I was at Uni in Sydney I lived off $6.00 thail lunch menu specials and $6.00 steak and chip pub deals (including a drink). Those were the greatest and most filling meals. They have taken on the goldy-sheen of delicious meals past

3. Learning
Remember when you went to Tutorials because if you didn’t, you’d fail? How ironic. I miss learning things. My brain juice is slowing down and turning to mud. I need to get back into some courses.

4. Drinking EVERY NIGHT of the week.
It’s Monday? AMAZING! We’ll go to Scu-Bar. Tuesday?! Lets go to the Roxbury! Wednesday?! Oh it’s time for The Marley….
You get the gist (those are all real places we used to go to around Sydney City btw) every night of the week had potential. Now if I go out on a week night, I need to be back in bed by 1am so that I can get enough sleep to go to work the next day. SIGH.
Real life sucks.

Western Mustangs!

Okay yes. I love that I’m not (always) broke. I love that I don’t have to eat instant noodles for 2/3 my meals.
I love seeing clothes I love and actually being able to buy them. I love the potential that life has before me, every day like a blank canvas.

But there are definitely things I miss. And being on campus makes those things come FLOODING back.