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.

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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.

My Lighthouse

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Are you a human adult?

Do you find yourself unable to sleep some nights (even when you are utterly exhausted) because the great whirring globule inside your skull has chosen this exact moment to throw all of the personal challenges you have ever considered or thought about- into your face?

Maybe you trip down the rabbit hole of “what the fuck am I doing with my life?”

You wouldn’t be alone with that – almost everybody I know, childless or childful (is that a word…?) Teenagers, Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties, Sixties… everybody is trying to figure out what they’re doing, why they did what they did, and what they are going to do next. All the while maintaing an immaculately maintained and crafted image of themselves on Social Media.

You think its just you?

I will be the first to admit that the last ten years have been a colliding merry-go-round of lucky breaks, happenstance and the ability to fall upwards.
From the University I attended, to the country I now live in, to the jobs that I have had – it’s all been one big “OKAY SURE!?” + tears.

I’ve had my goals and dreams, but while they remain a lighthouse on the coast, I’ve happily gone down into employment mermaid lairs and boarded pirate ships that have been more than diverting. (Are you staying comfortable with all the Metaphors?)

 

It is really hard to sail directly for the lighthouse when there is an unpredictable ocean (life) you are riding on. I am far from easy-going, but to avoid sinking, I’ve tried to take the waves as they come – and yet I see the lighthouse on the shore and it gives me pangs to see that some days it feels like I am further away from it than I was yesterday. That drives me crazy – especially when you feel like you’ve rowed as hard as you possibly could and it doesn’t make a difference – the lighthouse feels like an impossible target.

Still following?

For a long time now I’ve struggled to be honest about what it is I’m even sailing towards – because for a long time, floating at all seemed like the greatest achievement (hey look at me I’m on a boat and I haven’t crashed into the rocks!)

At 2am, for whatever reason, my brain finally decided to admit to itself what it is we’re aiming for and here it is:

I want to be a writer.

I’ve spent the last month funemployed and in that time (amongst the watching of numerous fail and cat videos) I buckled down and wrote a screenplay that has haunted me for four years. A story that I started and abandoned with no real deadline.

On Friday last week, I finished the first complete draft, 83 pages. And while my bank account reminds me that I need to get a real job again ASAP, I’m prouder of myself for those garbage 83 pages than I have been in anything for a long time.

And all the noise and splashing and the disquieted seas feel calmer now than they have in years because I don’t feel like an idiot for saying I want to be something – I AM something. I used to feel ashamed to admit that I wanted to be a writer because outside of this blog and the witty Facebook statuses I craft – I hadn’t written anything. I felt like a fraud with my Masters Degree in Creative Writing. I’d never in a million years have answered “What do you do?” with “I am a writer” because what a fucking fraud!

Now that I can admit what my goal is, all of the jobs and the career I’ve been carving – make sense. Because silly me – you don’t sail towards a lighthouse, that isn’t what a lighthouse is for. A lighthouse is a navigational tool. It helps guide you through the rocky sea and warns you of danger.

 

Thats what my brain was thinking about at 2am – that maybe you don’t ever reach your lighthouse – but knowing what it is and how it affects your decisions, is enough to see the path. Isn’t that we’re always looking for? Patterns and paths that make us feel like our lives aren’t haphazardly thrown together?

Find your lighthouse and then sit back and enjoy the boat ride.

Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night…and other Meat Loaf lyrics

So I may have mentioned that I am working in retail lately…and that I loathe it.

I’m subtle, so you probably haven’t picked up on it really, but there it is. I am not the retail industries number one fan. I have a new-found respect for people who work in this industry full-time, people who have to deal with people every day. BRRRR. Worst. Take me back to the cold lonely office.

No no. I jest (somewhat) people aren’t all bad, and neither is retail. The 50% off discount is pretty sweet (oh wait, did I need to pay my rent this month with that money? Woopsies!) and on occasion, it has allowed for some pretty creative ideas to form in my mind (like… lets start a family band!) as all those mindless hours folding clothes and getting sizes, and scanning and bagging let my mind roam of the great plains of imagination.

And as I have mentioned… I occasionally get to interact with human beings that make me think that we’re not all bad (just some of us).

This week was insanely long, and yet surprisingly quick, if that is at all possible. I think it was because the Thanksgiving long weekend loomed, and I had a whole lot of hanging around looking cool to do. The store I work in had a big sale Thursday and Friday and I racked up 18 hours of standing at a cash register processing people’s purchases. I felt like a zombie and forgot how to even have a real conversation with people or how to make connections with them, because the line to check out was out the shop and around the corner. One of the girls spent hours just standing guard at the lines to make sure people didn’t just walk off with stuff.

But earlier in the week I had two very strange and yet special encounters with people. One was a deaf lady who wanted to buy a leather Jacket. I am an extremely good lip reader, so conversing face to face was not a problem with this customer, but difficulties arose when she went into the change room and wanted to try different things on. Usually we only need knock and hand things over. Not possible in this case. The woman was very nice, petite and short with a big sparkly ring on the 2nd last finger of her left hand. We also ran into difficulties as she spoke with the accent of someone that has clearly been deaf their entire life. The word medium bewildered the both of us for a good thirty seconds and I was definitely the more embarrassed.

But she found what she needed and she was happy. Off she went into the world…leaving a piece of herself with me to think and muse about.

Then the following day, a woman with dark glasses and a gorgeous black labrador came in. Well dressed, nicely groomed, I noticed her standing in the middle of the shop fingering a couple of things here and there. I finally approached her and asked if I could help her. She asked me if we still had any of the gray work pants with the blue stripe through them that we used to have in the window. This woman was completely blind.

Her beautiful black lab wagged his tail slowly and I scratched his nose, aware that you are not meant to really fuss over guide dogs as they are working. I then spent a very strange half an hour with this woman, trying to gage what she might like by asking questions (we no longer had any more of the gray pants with the blue stripe through them). When I asked her if she was after anything in particular she replied:

“No, I’m just looking around.”

She wasn’t trying to be funny (you’ll notice that when I asked if she was after anything in particular I studiously avoided the word “look” because there have been instances in my life where I have been extremely insensitive and said things I shouldn’t have in the wrong settings. Like the time in Year 9, the first year at my new school in Hong Kong, when a young boy in a wheelchair asked if he could race a friend of mine the distance of the oval, and as they began I screamed at the top of my lungs “RUN DAVID RUN!” much to the horror of my politically correct Year 9 friends who were obviously, even then, more sensitive than I will ever be.)

So I didn’t laugh. Which was good. And instead I brought her things, described them the best I could (for a writer and someone who uses a lot of words…my vocabulary is shit…and I suck at life) and basically helped her “Look around”. She was so lovely, and was very thankful. For me, it was a surreal experience that I have been processing since the start of the week.

So there it is.

Tiny, weird exceptions to the I hate retail mantra I have taken up.

Oh yeah, and happy Thanksgiving…and stuff

Bloor West Gems, Toronto

 

Sometimes when I’m not interning at Rogers TV (love it) or working a retail job to support my fat ass while I’m interning at Rogers TV (hate it) or thinking of deep and meaningful, slightly angsty blog posts to write, I actually go about my days and enjoy the cool things that Toronto has to offer.

My Toronto neighbourhood is Bloor West (specifically Bloor and Ossington) which is a pretty cool little area that has quiet suburban streets (like the one I live on) surrounded by hipstery hang-outs, random restaurants and some pretty awesome little Gems.

Here is a list of the Bloor West Toronto Gems as per my perspective.

Nazareths Ethiopian Restaurant.

At one point or another, Canuck boyfriend and I decided to try some of the local eateries in my area. After jumping on Urban Spoon, we discovered that the poky little dark restaurant/bar that always has a line out the front of it, is in fact Toronto’s best Ethiopian Restaurant. We made the usual jokes at first, like, what will they serve? Air and bark? (Awful, ignorant, etc etc I know) But turns out Ethiopian food is delicious and full of flavour. You eat with your hands and use the Injera – floppy citrusy type crepe bread – to scoop the goopy looking food into your mouth. I am struggling to compare what the food is like because it really is some of the most unique food I have ever tasted. If you go to Nazareth’s and there is at least two of you, I would recommend getting the Beef Tibs and the Vegetarian (the vegetarian is pictured on the right hand side of the green veggie divider line). If you are heading to this restaurant for dinner, GET THERE EARLY! The line up starts at 6/630 and sometimes the service is a little slow (the only drawback) so the wait can be loooooong especially if you are hungry! Oh and did I mention how cheap this place is?! The meal pictured here probably cost $22 including tax and that is PLENTY of food for two people. You could even share that between four (I have).

Bakerbots Bakery

Two Silly Aussies enjoying Ice-Cream Sammy’s, (L) Rosie (R) Me!

Possibly my favourite place in Toronto, this little Gem is one of the first places I take people who are visiting from out-of-town, or who are just unfamiliar with the area. I discovered this place when I kept seeing tonnes of smiling people exiting this little glass fronted cafe. Right beside the Ossington train station and run by the indie music loving Rosanne and with a host of characters who work in the place, including ones we have dubbed Smiley Stoner-Mcgee and Kiddie Kiddieson (a young enthusiastic kid that works there), this place has the best ice cream sandwiches in the ENTIRE world (or the bits I’ve seen of it anyway). They make the cookies and ice cream there and if you go there, you NEED to try the Burnt Toffee or Burnt Marshmallow with the Everything Cookie OR the Lemon Meringue Ice Cream with the Birthday Cookie. They have other delicious treats too like pies, macaroons and cupcakes, and they are ALL delicious, but seriously, go for the ice cream sandwiches, a half will set you back about $4 but it will be the best $4 you ever spent. I may have to go there myself this afternoon just because I made myself hungry by writing about this.

Saving Gigi

Today was actually my first experience at Saving Gigi and I am ashamed of that fact. Whenever I would tell people the area I lived in, their first response was always “Do you go to Saving Gigi ALL the time?!” and alas…my answer was no! But today I changed that! My delightful friend Kate and I went there for brunch and OH MAN! It was cool. It was cute. We felt like hipsters. It was a great brunch. I had the Brie and Pear Baguette with Toasted Walnuts and Honey, and Kate had the Big Brunch with eggs, tomatoes, potatoes (which were SO garlicky and yummy). It’s small place with LOTS of hipsters (seriously glad I wore my slouchy beanie (Canadians would call that a tuke) today, phewph, gotta fit in!) Saving Gigi also has lunch and dinnery type items and also serves booze (WIN!) and there is live music there. They have a huge record collection which they play and its just a really cool vibe. Lots of beautiful artsy type people sitting and staring out the windows typing nonchalantly on their MacBooks (note to self, take Macbook to Saving Gigi, write stuff, be cool, be beautiful, have mysterious air). But seriously, just such a cute place, and my brunch + hot chocolate was about $11.

Honest Ed’s

Okay this is straying a bit into Annex Territory, but I have to mention it in this blog post because I went there today and had my mind BLOWN. I have walked past Honest Ed’s a hundred times. It’s a bit hard to miss and I guess technically isn’t really a Gem either. But wow! That place is something else. If you need anything under the sun, chances are Honest Ed’s has it and for CHEAP! Going in there is actually a bit overwhelming, and I had only planned to stick my head in with my friend Kate, but we both ended up buying some candles, some food items, and some other random things! We also spent about half an hour in this maze of good deals and bargains.

According to my hastily done internet research, “Honest Ed’s was the first true bargain store” opened in 1948. Low prices appears to be their thing and it’s kind of tacky, game-showy “EVERYTHING MUST GO” feel is part of its charm.

Too much stuff to behold! Now I know how Aladdin felt in the cave of wonders!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate modelling the 25cent blazer she bought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And those are pretty much my Gems for this Sunday. Toronto is the kind of place where every corner you turn, every street you go down, there is something cute and unique to discover. I definitely have my days where I wonder what the fuck I’m doing with my life, but really and truly, I’d probably be asking myself that question whether I was in Hong Kong, Sydney, Johannesburg, London, New York, Milan, Hamburg, Jamaica….(I’m just listing random places now)… so why not do it in the quirky and fun North American city of Toronto?

I’ll end this blog post with a picture I took in one of the fruit shops we stopped at today on our walk, to buy Bananas…

 Isn’t she cute? She was “helping” all the customers.

 

Happy Sunday/Monday everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris

 

 

 

 

Love and Lost in Translation

Ever since my first kiss at the age of fourteen, there has been a noticeable trend in the boys I have harassed. To say that they were all Asian would be to be forgetting Rick, my boyfriend of three weeks in Year 10 who was actually Canadian, Adam, who was half, David who was a quarter, Roger who was old-school Hong Kong British and of course, current Boyfriend Jered who is totally Canadian (thank god, says my slightly (and by slightly I mean occasionally and surprisingly) racist 88 year old grandmother who has never made it a secret that she’d like the shade of her great-grandchildren’s skin to be on the white side. – I’m not sure that my Dad has told her she has two homosexual grandsons and that Jer is Canadian AND Jewish, because really…what is she going to do with that information?)

“When I was your age, the Black people had to sit at the back of the Bus!” – My Grandmother, 2005.

Isn’t it surprising that racism and intolerance like that exists outside of people her generation? Although it is not totally forgivable in my  Grandmother (who, it has been pointed out to me, became very wealthy through her business dealings with the Japanese when my Grandfather owned a sporting goods store), she is an old lady who’s field of understanding and acceptance to new ideas has shrunk to the size of those god-awful ‘Current Affairs’ type programs that air in a specific time-slot to terrify little old men and women who go to bed at 6pm.

The idea that one might move to Asia with ones girlfriend (and subsequently wife), was, I’m sure, shocking to my Nana and Dah at the time that my parents did it (in the eighties). To have a new born there, let alone 3 and raise them all there seemed out-of-this-world, I am sure. Until a few years ago when one of my first cousins moved to the UK and my Dad’s cousin and his family moved to Singapore, my five person family unit was really the only one on my dads side that didn’t live in the Western Australian City of Perth.

But my rant today is not about my Grandmother, or the City of Perth (you’re alright Perth…look, you gave us the Wiggles!) but is instead about loving someone from another culture or country and the challenges that one may face.

It’s no great stretch to live in Canada as an Australian. SURE I feel like the popular kid at school because of everyone LOVES my accent (even though mines not so strong – must fake it to win friends) and yeah it IS pretty weird that I live on the opposite side of the world to that cute little island country who’s passport I posses, but really, there are lots of similarities between Aussies and Canucks and that is why they get along so well, and also why 99.5% of the population of Whistler is Aussie. We like you – you like us. It’s win-win.

So it’s weird when people think it’s weird that I live here. One of the first assumptions people make is that I moved here because of a boyfriend. When they find out about Jered, they nod their heads and go “ooooohhhhhh okay.” Like that’s the only reason for globalization and travel…to move your entire life from one side of the world to the next… for love. Hey! I’m not knocking it. One of my best friends is moving here in 7 days from the UK and one of the big factors is the love of her life that she has been long distance dating for two years. No big deal!

Just not my deal.

Don’t get me wrong, having a cool, hilarious boyfriend is a big plus on the Toronto experience. I won’t make your eyes turn to pus and melt by outlining exactly HOW cool and sweet and hilarious and adorable my boyf is, because, that’s just annoying when people do that, and that’s not why you came here. You came here for angry sweaty ranting, and that is what you shall have.

There have certainly been some strange moments between us as a couple. Probably the most surface issue is getting used to each others language and word usage.
J: Garbage
Me: Rubbish
J: Sweater
Me: Jumper
J: Ketchup
Me: Tomato Sauce (which always leads to the debate, “then what do you call Tomato sauce – like for pasta…Me: um…Pasta sauce?)

On these occasions I am left thinking of the scene in ‘Love Actually’ where dorky ‘Colin Frissel’ goes to Wisconsin and meets babes, and they all sit around laughing at each others pronunciation “Table!…oh its the same…”

But there is more to it for P+J than mere lol’s at language. J is Jewish, (as are most of my friends from my summer camp job) and as a result, I have been exposed to, and included in, lots of Jewish customs. I just had my 2nd Rosh Hashanah experience (which by the way – I still had to google to figure out how to spell).

I was TERRIFIED when Jered invited me this time last year. Okay, it was partly the idea that I would ruin the entire religious event by doing something embarrassing like…I don’t know…eating pork? (turns out J is more culturally than religiously Jewish and is actually an atheist and he loves bacon and all that jazz- phewph) and partly because I’d just started dating the guy and was suddenly going to meet his ENTIRE family (cousins, aunts, grandma et al). I spent quite some time researching online about apples and honey and stuff. I bought his Grandma some weird apple tea thing, and I think they thought it was really cute that I was trying.

The most frustrating thing for me over the last year was always feeling like a Class A moron when I didn’t know things that everyone around me just assumed I’d know. I had almost no religion in my life prior to being included in Jewish stuff, (although I did attend a Church of England Private School for four years when we lived in Sydney and had been to church on Easter) I had never been to a funeral before and never celebrated any holidays except for Easter (Chocolate eggs and the Easter Bunny!) Halloween (LOLLIES!) Christmas (PRESENTS AND SANTA!!) and New Years Eve (Booze and fireworks!)

So I had a lot of eye-opening learning experiences, like going to a Sedar (also had to google spelling) at passover and being presented with a plate of herbs and a bit of bone. (Jer..Jer.. do…we eat that stuff?) Or wishing everyone a Merry Christmas once before they all went on vacation…duuuuuurrrrp.

It hasn’t been a struggle, that’s not what I am getting at, but with a relationship where cultural exchange is involved, there is always going to be periods of adjustment, times where patience will be required, times where sensitivity must be employed. There are times where things are so different, you are coming from such different backgrounds of understanding, that the only thing you can do is laugh hysterically and move forward. And then you’ll find all the common ground you share and it will be a wonderment, that two people can grow up in such vastly different settings, on different parts of the planet, and still enjoy the same things.

End Rant

Paris

p.s

follow me on twitter @ohparis

 

 

 

Before I was cool

Before I was cool … (that’s now by the way – this is as cool as I’m going to get, unless I accept Skrillex as a thing, or shave small portions of my hair into weird designs, or stop going to bed promptly at eleven) I used to have a kind of a blog thing called a Xanga.

All my Hong Kong high school friends had one, and it was basically a blog. We all used to post stuff and comment on each others things. I checked my friends Xanga’s pretty much every day after school (oh how I would have loved twitter as a seventeen year old obsessive type).

Anyway today, because I am stressed about looking for a job, I decided to go back in time and see what stressed me out back then. I will tell you what stressed me out most… realizing that 2006 was six years ago. Obviously I could have done the maths, but seriously??!!? I finished high school SIX years ago?! That means the kids in year 6 when I was graduating, who I wouldn’t have looked at except to be like “MOVE SMALL FRY!” (That’s totally how I talked back then) are all going to be in the bars this year or by the end of the year (well they will everywhere but Canada and the US of A where the drinking age is not 18).

So…potentially, that guy at the bar that is asking me where I’m from…he could have been starting high school while I was starting University. Not cool. Foetal position NOW! But yeah sure i’ll take that free drink. THANK YOU INFANT!

So anyway, I went ahead and looked at some posts (I went through a faze of making them all private, so I undid that), so if you care to see what a (more) hormonally charged, 17/18 year old version of my blog was like, feel free to click below:

http://parispaz.xanga.com/

and enjoy your supper or brekkie depending on which side of the globe you are on.

Paris

5 Reasons I am failing at life as an adult, but winning at being 3

 

Sometimes I love living away from home. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my family and I miss them, but they are the kind of people who I can take in small doses too. We have always been a gypsy family that lives spread out, and although we miss each other greatly, we are the type of family respect each others need to travel, quest for adventure. I have friends here who, at almost 30, are still living at home, and good for them if it works, because sometimes I still severely wish I lived at home, in fact, need to live at home.

Here are the reasons why I am failing at life as an adult, but winning at being 3 years old.

 

1. Meals

Whenever I have been home for a few days, I get this weird feeling in my stomach. My skin is better, and I sleep really well. And then I realize it is because I am eating 3 meals a day, (I know! THREE WHOLE MEALS!) and they mostly contain food that has been cooked at home and not in an industrial restaurant style kitchen. There are usually these vegetable things involved, and the meals happen at pretty standard times.

What I am trying to tell you is that two days ago I was really hungry after working a promo job, and it was late, and I couldn’t think what I wanted, so I bought half a roast chicken from the Portuguese place on the corner, AND an Ice Cream sandwich (lemon cake flavour) at Bakerbots bakery, and because I was walking, ate the ice cream first and the chicken when I got home. Failing at being an adult, WINNING at fulfilling my childhood fantasy.

 

2. Being outdoors

When I was a child, my parents were always telling me to turn off the TV and get outside because it was a beautiful day. WELL HAHA! Parents, because now I’m 23 and I don’t have a TV but I have my very own laptop where I can spend HOURS watching Cat videos, not leaving my house or Pajama’s until its nearly dark outside! So suckit adulthood!

3. Bedtime

My lights out time age ten and under was 7.30pm, maybe 8 if I had a sports game after school. WELL! My young fantasy’s are now coming true! I stay up waaaay too late just like all the big kids and do important things like check my Facebook wall repeatedly, and stalk people i’ll probably never see again or would recognize if I did. In the meantime, as mentioned before due to irregular sleepy times, my reoccurring face pimples are worse than the height of my adolescence. But I do what I want. So BOOYAH life. Take that high five in the face.

4. Dressing how I want every day with no one to say NUTHIN!

Yeah, I am wearing mismatching socks. What of it? Yeah this shirt has a toothpaste stain! So!? No I don’t think my sparkly blue eye shadow is too much for a daytime pool party. I can do what I want, and its only weeks later when I have come down off the crazy train of whatever-the-hell hormones were kicking around inside my brain that I look back and think, if ONLY my mother had been there to nag me to change. I always look so well dressed and put together when I am home. But nu-uh, I do what I want!

5. Laundry

As a three-year old, I didn’t care so much about laundry, because DUH someone else did it for me! It was like a magic trick, I would get dirty and boom, the clothes would be back by the end of the week, neatly folded and all good. As an adult, it is one of the most tedious things I have to do, and so I go out and buy more and more underwear, so the frequency of laundry is decreased. True story.

 

 

 

 

 

Because I haven’t had a “what the hell am I doing with my life?” moment in a while

Dear Universe,

Hi, how’s it going? Remember when I turned twenty and I decided to throw away my foolish teen angst and exchange it for the melancholy of being a 20 something? I decided to write a list of things I wanted to achieve in the next five years as a way to not die of stress/boredom/whatever fucking hormones they’ve injected into the chickens I eat which now make me grow black hairs in places a fair-haired woman should not and make me a crazy person 9 out of 10 times during the day…

Remember? Remember Universe?!!? We had a deal! I’d put all of my hopes and dreams for the next five years on a piece of paper, and you… you would keep up your end of the bargain and make them all magically happen. Instantly. Just as I planned.

Like:

Win an Academy Award

Publish a book

Learn Another language and live in a country where I can use it

Buy some property

Do something notable that helps others

Well guess what Universe? In 2 months, I’ll be 24 years old.

HOLY COW BATMAN! you say, and I say it too, but you can’t really understand me because I’m curled up into a little ball with a pillow scrunched into my mouth, rocking violently from side to side shaking my head, moaning WHY WHY WHY to the sound of that biological clock ticking and the days of my beauty ebbing away.

So MAYBE (I’ll admit it here) some of these dreams were lofty, and MAYBE (I’ll admit) even though I WAS an extremely well-travelled 20-year-old, I didn’t really know shit about the world, having lived first in an Expat bubble, and then wrapped up in the world of Wesley College where my main concern each week was how many boxes of wine my friends and I could afford if we got Thai food 3 times that week too.

Perhaps I was a little naive in thinking that somebody would swoop down to my disgusting room and say:

“WOW! YOU! YOU TALENTED STUNNING YOUNG CREATURE! EVEN THOUGH YOU BARELY WRITE AND YOU ARE TOO AFRAID TO LET PEOPLE READ YOUR WORK…YOU GIRL! YOU WHO WANTED TO BE AN ACTOR YOUR ENTIRE LIFE WHO HASN’T PUT ONE LICK OF EFFORT INTO TRYING OUT FOR THINGS OR GOING FOR CASTINGS…YOU ARE MY NEW MUSE. COME TO HOLLYWOOD IMMEDIATELY AND TAKE OVER.”

Because I’m pretty sure that’s how it happened in my head. Hey! I wrote it on the piece of paper. Now I just sit back and watch the money and job offers roll in.

Heh heh heh. *I rub my hands together Mr Burns style – excellent*

Um yeah.

So let’s have a lookieloo where I’m at with the old paper universe wish list.

I haven’t won an academy award, in fact I haven’t written a script in almost 18 months…so. I did win a badge at the Blue Jays game I went to a couple of months ago… and by won, I mean, my friend who works there got them to give me a badge that said “Today is my first Blue Jays Game!” and the date. I wanted to end up in LA or New York…but in fact I am here in Toronto. Like a bird slightly blown off course.

Publish a book…. well i did write two articles for free which went into the Gleaner Newspaper! A small indie newspaper that mainly services the tiny area I live in…And I have this blog. When I finish writing it, the button I have to push says Publish.

Turns out I did move countries, so we can strike this one off the list. AND to a place where I had to learn another language and could use it every day. Canada is that country. I learned to speak Canadian English. I can now put that on my resume. WIN. I now know what a sweater really is, and sketchy. Woohoo. So glad my parents sent me to Private schools.

Buy some property…yeah maybe on the Monopoly board – If i don’t get sent to jail

Do something notable that helps others….

When I was redrafting my Resume a couple of days ago, my Canuck boyfriend, who for the last five months has been working in a position where he has to view hundreds of Resumes, told me I should put some hobbies and interests if I am to be applying to certain positions as it distinguishes you and sets you apart.

Me: Okay…so what hobbies should I put?

CanuckBoyf: I don’t know…whatever you enjoy doing in your spare time.

Me: So… sleeping?

CB: OR, writing your blog, theatre viewing, Theatre acting…

Me: Okay! What about Photography? (Just btw, I have 217 albums on Facebook and, as someone pointed out to me, nearly 5 and a half thousand tagged photos of myself.)

CB: Great, I’ll put attending indie music festivals and historical reading.

Me: um… I don’t think I’ve ever attended an indie music festival…and historical reading… that sounds like you.

CB: you read game of thrones right? That’s historical ish, and you love Of Monsters and Men! They’re indie!

Me: Okay… maybe we should put basketball… I seriously plan to join a team this season…

Sadly our little fudging of my Resume exercise made me realize how lacking in volunteer work my life is. I have always meant to volunteer some of my time to helping others, but the “meant to” does not translate to actually helping somebody. And so with remorse I realize that by 25, I may not have achieved something on my list.

OH HUSH Paris, you say as you read this overly long and gas baggy account of woe is me – there is still time. You have 14 months to get yourself on track. And you are right, by the time I am twenty-five, I very well may have put myself on a path to Oscar glory, or written some chapters of a novel, or seriously started saving for a house, or made a difference to someones life.

I realize that life is a journey, and that probably this freak out is because I am currently seeking the next chapter of my life – deciding it is time to start that elusive beast “A Career”.

Being unemployed SUCKS and its only been a week, but I’ve always been someone who likes to know what’s happening next.

And right now it is all a bit of a mystery, like a jigsaw puzzle with the border all done, but NO fucking clue what the big picture is.

Paris

Happy one year CANAversary Austraalien!!!

When I landed in Toronto on the 12th of June 2011 it was a Sunday. I was the first person in my family to ever be in Canada. I was so jet lagged, and the Canadian coins were so confusing. I found a payphone and called my mum to tell her I was OK. For her it was the next day and she was just waking up. I felt like I was just waking up too – but waking up to a completely new, adventurous experience.

I’m the type of person who enjoys celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, and generally acknowledging the passing of time. I think it is important to rejoice in these milestones because there are times you get stuck and you can’t see a way out of a situation. There are points in our lives, where we look toward the future, and all we can see is a path which branches in a hundred different directions, with question marks at every crossroad.

After my Masters degree I felt stuck. I spent six months hanging out in Hong Kong doing a low-paid teaching assistant gig at my old High School. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was itchy for adventure. And then the idea of Canada came and smacked me in the face.

I have loved living in Toronto, but it hasn’t always been easy. I went back and read my post from my 6 month CANAversary and I was so happy and full of joy and Autumn sunshine. Little did I know, the cold hard truth of a Canadian winter was about to punch me in the face (and this was a mild one apparently!) The Canadian winter wears you down. It gets dark before you leave the office and it’s dark when you wake up in the morning. I still love the snow and the lights and the romantic feeling of the crisp Canadian air, but its the January/February part of winter that made me beg and plead with the imaginary man in the sky for a day of sunlight, or perhaps just a temperature above zero.

And then suddenly in March/April… it was spring like, and we had a few weeks of randomly hot weather, and the tulips in the road dividers all bloomed, and people were outside, and it wasn’t dark any more. And I wore a skirt, and realized those weren’t socks I was wearing, that was my ankle leg hair wrapped around my toes.

And hope returned with spring. Trees were green, and not bear, and the kids in my street started playing out there again. And then summer hit and everyone started sweating their asses off again and bitching about how humid it is.

And I though AHHHHHH. We’ve come full circle, I remember sweating my ass off with a big backpackers back hoisted over my shoulders, walking around the same area.

Because that’s what a year in one place means. Experiencing a full cycle of all the seasons – and BOY! are they vivid here in Canada. Autumn is chilly and BEAUTIFUL, Winter is FIERCELY cold, Spring is BRIGHT and ripe with potential, Summer is SIZZLING and exciting. Each of the seasons has brought me some new discovery of self.

It has been a challenge but it has been thrilling. I have no idea where this is going or what’s next, but if I can pack a bag and move to the other side of the world… well…

I am pretty much ready for anything

The hunt for New Roommates

I live in a really cool part of Toronto. Sandwiched between little Italy and little Portugal, close to Korea town (I eat pretty interesting take-away week to week). I love my apartment, in which I have the tiniest little room at the back of the house off the kitchen. I don’t mind my little room, I don’t really have much stuff in this city. I find that the less space I have, the less clutter and THINGS I acquire. So when both of my roommies told me they were moving out, I weighed up moving into one of the nicer rooms in our apartment.

My rent is the cheapest I have ever paid since I began paying rent. It costs me for one month, what it would cost me for 2 weeks in Sydney, and is a third of what I would pay for even a miniscule place in Hong Kong.

I decided with no guaranteed employment after camp in August, and with a bit of a road trip plan in the works for early September with Canadian Boyfriend, to stay where I was.

So now, lets discuss the hunt for new roommates.

Aside from the extremely stressful timing of this whole shenanigan-astic fiasco (what with me leaving for camp in a couple of weeks, and having a sublet) and just the general pain-in-the-assery associated with change, I was eager to tackle the task of finding two people to move into what is now my home.

I put out a ping online to friends and friends of friends. No bites. Bad timing. Lots of people looking for new digs for the start of September but alas July 1st, you were not the prettiest pig in the pageant. Its okay. Have a cookie.

And so I turned to that big aquarium of rare and bizarre creatures in the sky:

Craigslist (pronounced cray.g.z.list and not creg.s.list you North American foooooools)

And boy did I get a response!

I guess our rent is pretty reasonable for the area and the two rooms going are decent sized. I received 20+ emails in the first 3 hours. I was just happy that people were interested and I wasn’t going to have to scrape the barrel for people or die alone… wait…what?

I was pretty upfront about the place, what I’m like and the type of person I was after. I asked for people to tell me a little bit about themselves when they emailed me. The people who wrote “is the apartment still available?” or “I have interest. When I see the place?” and didn’t introduce themselves didn’t get an email with any further details.

But the ones who sounded normal, guys or girls, I was willing to give them the shot and show them around.

It just goes to show that anyone can represent themselves well on paper.

Where to begin, where to begin?

Perhaps with the guy that came first to look around. Tatoo sleeves, and insane scars all over his face from when he used to have 30+ piercings ABOVE the belt. Okay. Had a strange energy about him. Ex Cabinet maker, turned Paramedics student. I decided I better keep notes on all these people as I’d never remember them all. Beside his name I wrote “Nice. But kind of seems like that normal guy who would become a seriel killer.”

NEXT

Sweet, shy, Scottish guy who moved to Toronto around the same time I did. Cross eyed (me – extremely awkward and not sure where to focus when speaking to him – but no problem as he didn’t keep my eye for more than a second). Told waffling stories about things his grandfather said, or a random, completely out of context funny moments recalled, with no pretext or set up…

NEXT

Really nice, kind of dweeby guy who kind of reminded me of Howard from ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Works at Medieval times (a restaurant EXPERIENCE with live horses and jousting competitions, serving wenches tankards of ale…) as a trumpet player, studies music at University. Told me about his very shy, sweet girlfriend who might come and stay now and then. Yep fine no problem. This guy was looking like a winner… but just as we got up to go, his craigslist started to show.

“Oh there is one more thing” he begins, “I’m not sure if I should mention it…” he trails off.

Me: so friendly and encouraging, really think this guy is nice: “Go ahead. Be open, what is it?”

Him: “well… it’s not that my girlfriend and I have an open relationship really but…occassionally there would be a random person coming home with me.”

Me: (Is this guy telling me he kind of cheats on his girlfriend?) “Ok….

Him: “Oh! It’s not cheating… My girlfriend would be there too…”

Me: ……………………. uhm……………….

Him: “Not very often. But on Occasion. I thought I should mention it…”

Me: (TOTALLY Flustered) Right… okay so…. uhm just out of curiosity boys or…girls or… (WHY DID I ASK THAT?!)

Him: “Oh! Both! Sometimes at the same time rarely.”

He blushes. I blush.

Me: …………………………………… Thanks for coming to see the place. I’ll let you know.

There were others.

But nothing stood out like that exchange.

And I’m not against whatever it is he needs to do in the privacy of his bedroom. But… in our first meeting? In the first 30 minutes of getting to know the guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful he said it, because he was top three.

Thankfully, since then, I found two cool girls who are happy to move in.

brrrrrrr*SHUDDER*rrrrrrr

I dipped my toe in the craigslist pond, and lived to tell the tale.

We’ll see how this all works out.